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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Night Light" Episode 2

2016/11/22 | Permalink

Se-jin is pretty well-seduced by the glamorous cool promised through I-kyeong's slick in-charge attitude. Of course, this predictably goes badly because really, if the job was so easy I-kyeong would have just done it herself. So what we're left is a tense and frightening hostage situation as Se-jin desperately tries to negotiate herself out of certain disaster. I-kyeong's hilariously blasÚáreaction to the entire sordid affair is, unsurprisingly, pretty enraging. At least until Se-jin gets back to her normal job.

What I like about Se-jin is that she's a real everywoman. Observe how rather than pull off stoic action movie heroics in I-kyeong's vein, Se-jin is terrified for the entire portion of captivity. She maintains just barely enough composure to take advantage of an unexpected situation and not be a total helpless victim. That's why I-kyeong likes Se-jin so much. Se-jin could do amazing feats- if only given the opportunity.

And that's what's lacking in her current life. While Se-jin may not like I-kyeong's attitude, the older woman respects skill. This is a far cry from most of the authority figures Se-jin meets, who simply expect people to follow their orders because they say so. What makes I-kyeong compelling is that even in the high class corporate world, she's dealing with many of the same problems that Se-jin is. It's just that I-kyeong has amassed enough power to take revenge, when she feels like it.

The way I-kyeong tempts Se-jin works precisely because Se-jin wants to be a nice woman, but this is at odds with Se-jin's generally confrontational and assertive personality. Normally any time Se-jin lets the mask slip, that's when she gets in trouble. However, I-kyeong values competence- not blind loyalty. It's a very powerful weapon that has already allowed her to make massive inroads in a business field that would have spit up and chewed out a nice woman a long time ago.

The ethical conflict is pretty spot-on, and I love the performances from the lead actresses. To date, the main issue I have with "Night Light" is that every other character is just sort of bland by comparison. They represent obstacles that I-kyeong and Se-jin must overcome in order to get what they want. For the introductory story I suppose they've served their purpose. Going forward, though, I really want to see better villains than this. I-kyeong and Se-jin are at their sexiest when the odds are at the most impossible.

Review by William Schwartz

"Night Light" is directed by Lee Jae-dong, written by Han Ji-hoon and features Lee Yo-won, Jin Goo, UEE, Choi Il-hwa, Choi Min and Shim Yi-young.

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