Jin-woo (played by Yoo Seung-ho) is a young man who has spent the better part of the last four years trying to prove his father Jae-hyeok (played by Jun Kwang-ryul) innocent of murder. Jae-hyeok doesn't remember having committed the murder. In fact, Jae-hyeok doesn't really remember much of anything. Ironically, Jin-woo remembers everything in perfect detail. And that's the basic hook for "Remember". It's a drama about remembering or not remembering things.
The premise is simple, clean high concept with similarly effective execution. While the first episode is mostly focused on setting up the essentials of the story, there's still the very excellent setpiece at the police station that well demonstrates how Jin-woo is smart, determined, and just a tad arrogant even if he has the chops to justify himself. But in terms of the larger plot, for now Jin-woo is the bystander to a miscarriage of justice, and we're left waiting to see how the next four years unfold.
Writer Yoon Hyeon-ho was also on the screenwriting team for "The Attorney" from a couple of years back, and it's clear from what little we see of the background of the crime that there's going to be a similar social justice element at play in "Remember". The apparent villain Gyoo-man (played by Namgoong Min) is...to be entirely honest just a shallow sadistic rich guy. But we don't see anymore of him than is absolutely necessary, so I'm going to try to be optimistic that the central crime is more complicated than has been implied so far.
The tone is actually surprisingly well balanced. It might help that director Lee Chang-min-I has experience with a wide variety of genres- his career spans from the melodramatic epic "Giant" up to the very deliberately silly "Birth of a Beauty", and elements of both pop up here. Jin-woo's entire motivation with his father is the very definition of melodramatic angst, and Jin-woo's presumed eventual romantic relationship with In-ah (played by Park Min-young) similarly has a lot of spark even if so far the two just have a bunch of mutual annoyance.
It's still too early to make any overly definite judgments about "Remember". Even so, the production is very slick and classy, and the cast has plenty of energy. The flow and pacing are so strong in this drama that by the time we get to the later more cynical parts of the story I was already there with all the action, eager to see what was going to happen next. What few flaws exist are, for the moment, mostly negligible.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Remember" Episode 1"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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