Gap Dong (갑동이)
Synopsis: Moo Yeom is a detective. 20 years ago, he was a Buddhist monk, but he got into trouble with a man named Gap Dong. To cut ties with him and cut off whatever karma would arise from his involvement with Gap Dong, Moo Yeom became a detective. After the statute of limitations expired, Gap Dong appears once again. Moo Yeom sets out to catch him once and for all. ~ Drama series is inspired by the “Hwaseong serial murder case”.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Crime, detective, mystery, suspense
Duration: 60 min
Casting: Yoon Sang Hyun, Kim Min Jung, Lee Joon, Kim Ji Won, Sung Dong Il…
Hard to tell a story that was already done on big screen by the director Bong Joon Ho (Memory of Murder). So what can we say about that drama which bluntly has for second title Memory of Murder? That question was actually the one triggering my desire to watch Gap Dong, considering I had loved Bong Joon Ho’s movie. I was curious to see how the same story would be handled within 20 episodes.
My verdict: it took me ages to finish it! Gap Dong was like a big soufflé: yummy at first, so-so in the middle, disgusting at the end. I was that closed to giving it up but too pride to do it. I gritted my teeth and gathered my courage! Gap Dong 0/ Whoovy +1 (in your face!)
This drama was confusing, weird and at the same time surprising. Surprising in the way that it lost me right from the beginning (I know I’m a bit dim but still! O_O). I had the feeling to have caught the story partway through. The bases of the plot were vague despite the numerous flashbacks. As a result only the character knew where they were going while us, poor spectator, had to deal with the events as they were presented to us. The inquiry became more and more complicated. I had the feeling to be more and more drown in every episodes. Everyone claimed to be Gap Dong. I can’t tell you how many time I heard: 내가 진짜 갑동이다 (I’m the true Gap Dong) -_-“
The scriptwriter played with us. He confused us and gave the answer to our question one by one, constantly keeping us in the dark by doing so. Kind of normal for a thriller I admit. But at the end it was just super annoying. We were forced to believe stupid situations and it was only later on that we were told the truth. It was a bit like taking one step forward and two steps back. I like being surprised but that wasn’t even the case here, the twists and events being poorly brought to us. The scene of Chicken Race in episode 14th was a perfect example of that. First of all: how comes a murderer can get out of a mental hospital in which he was placed by the police as easily as he wants? Secondly what was that scene about? the one completely coming out of the blue? It was just crazy. My eyes left my screen for a split second and returedn to witness a scene worthy of Fast & Furious! like….whaaaat?. I know this scene was used to show us that death is the biggest fear of a psychopath but why did they introduced it like that? *sigh* so weird.
Not only I felt like sinking in a never ending story but I had also the feeling that the scriptwriter was himself, totally lost. We were bombarded by 10 thousand clues that were constantly change afterwards. As a result some aspects of the drama seemed unfinished. I actually still didn’t get how Mu Yeom came to suddenly suffer of a grave disease…Well I admit I wasn’t really constant in my watching so I might have missed some things along the way but still! Normally I easily get back in a drama even if I’ve stopped it for a few weeks. But that wasn’t the case with Gap Dong. The plot was so messy that it even tended to drag on near the end. Why 20 episodes? It would have been wiser according to me, to cut some episodes and avoid this draggy ending…
But after all there were some positive points. Everything wasn’t to throw out. I found very interesting all the explanation which were given to us about how some characters became psychopath. We put together little by little the pieces of a fictional puzzle until finding the key (“bloody jacket”) allowing us to understand their actions. In that way it made me think about White Christmas. The psychology of the characters were described in full details. I think that was one strength of the drama cause the scriptwriter did not just depict a manichaean world.
The making was undoubtedly the second positive point of the drama. The setting, the clothes, the dark, grey colours allowed the spectator to get into the drama more easily. An atmosphere worthy of genre movie was displayed. Flawless!
Now let’s talk about the character…well I had a hard time with most of them. Their behaviours defied all common sense. I got why they were all obsessed by Gap Dong considering their lives were ruined by this latter but still it was hard to figure them out and to actually appreciate them.
The detective Ha Mu Yeom (also called “Mad Monk”> what a great nickname!) was a character that let me completely indifferent. I still can’t figure out if I liked him or not (although I would tend to say ‘not’). His behaviours in the firsts episode was just annoying. A real drag! His obsession was almost scary. I don’t think the word “rationality” actually existed in his dictionary. All he did was rushing headlong without giving it any thought beforehand. He never helped the inquiry: he only worsted it. He constantly put himself in compromising situations. Wasn’t really surprising therefore, to see Detective Yang Chul Dong investigate him. He eventually calmed down along the episodes (or I just got used to him), but unfortunately the firsts episodes had still been fatal for him in my opinion. It was impossible for him to pick himself up afterwards. For me he had lost all credibility and that feeling remained until the end. Sorry dude!
Oh Maria was a character that annoyed me more than anything else. No energy! it seemed like all she did was done at a snail pace. It took me some time to find some interest in her character. Her change of personality was kind of nice but unfortunately wrongly developed. I barely recognized her in her disguise (episode 1 I think). Call me blind but you have to admit she kind of came out of the blue. Her behaviour was so different from what our eyes had first met. I was totally lost until I understood why she acted like that. But then again, the explanation was not given right away or at least not in a clear way. It was finally only near the end that I started to like her (a bit late, I know!). I don’t keep a very good memory of her to sum up.
Once again I don’t really know what to thing of Ryu Tae played by Lee Joon. He fascinated me at first. I have to say: Joon’s great work also played a big part in that first impression. He was as scary as can be. But the thing is that unfortunately his character quickly started to go round and round. I loved him in the first part of the drama but I can’t say that was the case in the second one. Like lots of other characters (to not mention the one played by Sung Dong Il: Detective Yang Chul Gon), he lost his importance along the episodes. I came to think it was actually fortunate that the character of Ma Ji Wool (Kim Ji Won) was created, otherwise Ryu Tae Oh would have completely disappeared. Just like my interest for him.
Ma Ji Wool was a character rather interesting. She moved from childishness to maturity. Her relation with Ryu Tae captivated me. She was the only one who believed him till the end. She therefore managed to go up in my estimation little by little even though that wasn’t a given: >>>SPOILER- her reaction when Ryu Tae Oh kidnapped her was just a joke. She seemed more sad by the fact that Mad Monk didn’t like her rather than scared by Ryu Tae Oh’s threat. Big WTF-SPOILER<<<
Yang Chul Gon aka “Scary Tiger” (again awesome nickname pal!) had little interest. I thought he would be really important but in fact he wasn’t at all. His role was more and more cut along the episodes. Other strange point: to see Sung Dong Il playing a character that serious. Everytime he appeared I couldn’t help hearing the goat sound of Reply 1994/1997. That doesn’t mean for all that he played poorly. It’s just that I’m more used to see him in comedy and that, that fact didn’t really help him.
I’m not gonna talk about Gap Dong himself cause I don’t want to spoil the few fun you could have while watching that drama (if you dare start it).
CL: Gap Dong was like a mint chocolate (food metaphor again, sorry^^). On the surface, the drama seemed really good (chocolate covering…very deceptive) but when I went deeper, I realized that in reality it wasn’t that great (that’s where the mint entered the scene, yeurk). At the end the only thing I wanted to say is “crap I should not have started that chocolate/drama”
Note de Whoovy: 6/10