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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Something About 1% - 2016" Episodes 14-15

2016/11/23 | Permalink

With the main antagonistic presence in "Something About 1% - 2016" shunted out of the picture, all that remains is the question of Jae-in and Da-hyeon completing the terms of their contract and permanently separating. Why is it necessary for them to separate, given that they have obviously grown into working mutual affection during the contract's duration? Well, mostly because Jae-in and Da-hyeon are equally stupidly stubborn when it comes to talking about their feelings.

It's sad to watch Jae-in and Da-hyeon bittersweetly enjoying their last days together knowing as we do, that they're going to separate for no good reason and feel absolutely miserable the entire time they're apart. And there were times I felt a little miserable too. Of all the times to stretch the action to fifty minutes, it's hard to see why the fourteenth episode would be the choice for this, given that Jae-in are simply being happy in anticipation of ultimately being sad.

Though then, that is the whole point isn't it? Jae-in is so used to thinking logically he can't process the idea of marrying a woman simply for love with no underlying financial motive. Da-hyeon is so used to being aloof that she, too, can't bear the thought of actually admitting she wants Jae-in in her life. Both of them keep trying to make a first approach and end up chickening out at the slightest possible excuse, putting on a brave face to pretend like they're happy when they're not.

The use of metaphorical masks here is quite good. To anyone except their closest acquaintances, it's actually very difficult to tell the difference between normal Jae-in and Da-hyeon versus the pretenders we see for most of the runtime. A big reason for this is that they're just going through the motions, the lifestyle they used to have, but gave up for the sake of the contract. Jae-in in particular is very weak-willed. He's lost his authoritarian streak, which oddly enough makes him less attractive.

That's because now Jae-in is used to the idea of just being himself and being honest with his own desires. It's that regret which so strongly underpins the pointless separation and very necessary reunion of Jae-in and Da-hyeon. Can they survive without each other? Of course. They did so before. The problem is that, having had a taste of real happiness, it's now too difficult to accept anything else as a subtitute.

Review by William Schwartz

"Something About 1% - 2016" is directed by Kang Cheol-woo, written by Hyeon Go-woon, and features Ha Seok-jin, Jeon So-min, Kim Hyung-min, Im Do-yoon, Joo Jin-mo-I and Lee Kan-hee.

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