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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Golden Tower" Episode 1

2014/07/23 | Permalink

Farming, far from the romantic pursuit it's usually framed as in fiction, tends to be repetitive, boring hard work. In the modern world this isn't really that big a deal. Practically all work is repetitive, boring and hard. The difference is that in most jobs there's a boss to yell at us when we're doing things wrong, to keep us grounded in reality. In "Golden Tower", the farmers that make up the local community are mostly unsupervised. Consequently, when something, anything unusual happens, they go completely bonkers.

It starts out simple enough. First it's just a pig. And believe me, when you don't live in the city, wild pigs are a huge problem. They tear stuff apart and make a huge mess. So somebody has to kill the wild pig before it's too late. There are in fact professional pig hunters who use all sorts of fancy modern equipment. I bring all of this up merely to note that when average farmers attempt to defeat the vile swine...well it doesn't really go that well.

A similar amount of lunacy is at play over the appearance of a mysterious rock. Note that most of the characters in "Golden Tower" do not actually find out what's so unusual about the rock until right at the end, and yet up until that point, nearly everyone had seen the rock, and figured out something weird to do with it before unceremoniously tossing it aside to the next link on the chain. Literally anything could be unusual enough to make these farmers go stir-crazy.

And yet in the midst of all this, there are two racial minorities (played by Guzal Tursunova and Sam Okyere). Even in a cast of twelve characters that's a pretty big deal for a Korean drama, but neither actor shows any signs of being held back in any way. To the contrary- my favorite joke this time around was when a Korean character asks a racist question, and receives such a comically ignorant response it's hard to imagine the man feels anything but guilt and idiocy for asking such a stupid question in the first place.

The jokes in "Golden Tower" are actually pretty strong writ-large, too. This is the kind of comedy where every crazy idea possible is thrown out there in the hopes that a few of them will stick, and enough manage to do so to make the drama worth watching. Even the format gets weird, as right at the end, once everything about the rock has clearly been settled, we get an unrelated story about a farmer's quest to trick out his ride. The final joke is...predictable. But it's hard not to laugh at absurdity this straight-faced.

Review by William Schwartz

"Golden Tower" is directed by Min Jin-gi, written by Jeong In-hwan, Jo Seung-hee-I and features Choi Jong-hoon-II, Lee Yong-joo, Kim Jae-woo, Baek Bong-ki, Hwang Je-sung and Bae Seul-gi.

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