Jin-woo's initial plan to deal with his trumped-up murder charge is to just blow through everything and expose the conspiracy in its entirity. This plan fails mostly because if it worked we wouldn't have any more story to go through. So contrivance after contrivance is the rule of the day here as "Remember" moves to its mostly preordained conclusion- figuring out who the actual murderer is in the short term so Jin-woo can start up again from scratch.
Sometimes the pulp elements are extreme enough to pass off as meta-comedy. Take a look at just about any individual background detail to get a better idea of what I mean. Note how every single TV station is apparently dedicated to Jin-woo's story. Observe the logistics of the chase scenes. Or what about Gyoo-man's tendency to be evil for the sole purpose of being evil? Take the jailhouse visit- what was the point supposed to be? Did Gyoo-man just want to soak in the mystic fog?
Ah, but for all these contrivances I can't help but love the direction in "Remember". Whether it's the mist or the lighting or a little snow director Lee Chang-min-I keeps finding the best possible way to frame these scenes. Even if at times the music is over-the-top, the pulp factor in "Remember" is impressive just on a level of sheer scale. The drama is such a visually powerful crime thriller that there's barely any need for dialogue at all.
I do wonder whether an absence of dialogue would be an improvement. There's just something so terribly annoying about how Gyoo-man acts unjustifiably cocky only to succeed entirely by virtue of the fact that the people he's hired are much more competent than he is. I really am hoping at this point that Il-ho ends up being the real villain of "Remember", if only because that guy has some basic idea as to what he's doing.
Alas, for the moment at least, I'm still not sure what to make of the drama writ large. The objective merits are obvious enough- it's the subjective qualities that drive me nuts. Do people really have so little faith in the leadership of South Korean society that "Remember" is able to come off as remotely plausible wish fulfillment? Well, then again, it worked for "Veteran"- and "Remember" does manage to one-up last year's biggest box office hit by putting the cops in on the conspiracy too.
Review by William Schwartz
"Remember" is directed by Lee Chang-min-I, written by Yoon Hyeon-ho and features Yoo Seung-ho, Park Min-young, Park Sung-woong, Namgoong Min, Jung Hye-sung and Jun Kwang-ryul
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 8"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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