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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Hotel" Episode 4

2014/08/26 | 939 views | Permalink

Geum-bo has rapidly become my favorite character in this drama. He doesn't bother with any old tired hardboiled detective nonsense. Geum-bo investigates crimes because of his natural curiousity about the greater world. He doesn't even pretend like all of his questions are actually related to the investigation. This also make him a great source of exposition, as we get access to personal character clues that in most mysteries wouldn't get exposed until near the end.

Now, part of this is due to the unusual way "My Secret Hotel" is structured in the first place. Technically it's a mystery, but our main characters are suspects, not investigators. This makes for an odd sort of narrative storytelling where the plot is only really advanced when Geum-bo is on screen, and he's a relatively minor character. Everyone else is just obsessed over damage control, although we do see some cracks here indicating that some of them are at least a little bothered by the unexplained death in their workplace.

As for comedy elements...well, I'm still not really feeling those so much. The closest thing we really get to a joke here is the way Sang-ho braces herself for tough confrontations with people she'd rather not speak to, only to discover that these meetings take on a completely different tone than what she was expecting. This also serves to demonstrate another one of the more genre-bending elements of the drama's unusual structure- the fact that even though this is a murder mystery, nobody seems particularly angry about anything.

Except Hae-yeong, although in his case the problem is pretty much entirely his own fault. I still hesitate to call him immature, though. Hae-yeong seems to know exactly what he's doing, it's just that his desire for spite is so overwhelming that it doesn't occur to him that other life choices are available. A flashback gives us a good clue as to how his relationship with Sang-ho was ruptured, and it's clear that Hae-yeong has learned absolutely nothing from the experience.

"My Secret Hotel" is in kind of an odd place overall, because it's incredibly easy to analyze mostly on the basis of being so utterly different from any other murder mystery I've ever engaged with. On the other end, it's one of those dramas that feels more creative and interesting looking backwards than it really does at the time. There's no real iexciting stylistic flourishes this time around, which at times makes it difficult to focus on what's happening. In any event, I still like what I'm seeing.

Review by William Schwartz

"My Secret Hotel" is directed by Hong Jong-chan, written by Kim Do-hyeon and Kim Ye-ri-II and features Yoo In-na, Jin Yi-han, Namgoong Min and Lee Young-eun.


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