“Curtain Call” has been labeled one of the most anticipated kdramas of the 2nd half of 2022, and it has finally aired its premiere episodes, so how were they?
Note: this article is a first-impression review, it doesn’t mean this is the writer’s final thoughts on the drama. This is a spoiler review.
I have been one of the people who anticipated the premiere of the drama. Like almost everyone else, I missed Ha Ji Won who has been absent for quite some time, for around 3 years from her last release which I was very critical of. I wanted to see her come back with something special and different, and “Curtain Call” could be THAT project.
This is Kang Ha Neul’s 2nd drama this year, I will never get tired of seeing his face and his acting. Always passionate, always knows how to use his face properly to express a wide variety of emotions. He’s so skilled and watching him is fun.
I really liked the premiere of “Curtain Call,” more than I expected I would.
The core idea [reuniting a dying person with a loved one who is a fake in order to fulfill their dying wish] is a bit outdated, but the way it ties with the story of the North and the South makes it much more believable, especially since the drama begins by referencing actual events that happened in the past as well as the not so distant 90s. Armed with the knowledge that such situations did happen and families were destroyed, separated and the reality of how North Koreans continue to struggle to this day under their dictatorship is honestly not what I was expecting to see going in.
With the way the screenwriter ties a core idea that we’ve seen many times before with a heartbreaking backdrop that was/is the reality to some people makes it more believable than I thought initially going in. This also made me much more emotionally tuned in. For a premiere, I’d say the drama did a good job of keeping people glued to the screen while they shed tears.
“Curtain Call” premiere episodes turned out to be a lot more emotional than I had expected going in as well, and I teared up in some scenes. I expect I will cry a lot as we move forward.
Before I talk about the casting, I want to talk about the editing and directing which felt a bit outdated at times. Director Yun Sang-Ho has been working since the early 2000s and I can still feel traces of that in the way he directs his dramas, but more so in this one which seems to have an outdated feel to it despite needing to be modern [in the modern set times]. I mean, certain shots, the feel of the story, the editing, and the addition of the songs feel outdated and odd. It feels as if I am watching a kdrama from 2008 at times, not what I was expecting. Could it be that its intentional? It might be the case, but I don’t particularly passionate about this style, in terms of editing or directing. It also felt like I was watching a daily kdrama at times, to those who don’t know, 16-episode kdramas are often referred to as ‘short-form’ in industry standards.
Now onto the casting.
How was Director Yun Sang-Ho able to gather so many A-listers in the same drama? I’ll never know, but I am in LOVE with the casting.
We have my new fav rising talent if we can call him that, Choi Dae-Hoon. I just love his acting and I’ve spoken about how much I think he’s immensely underrated, I hope he shines here. He’s been busy this year, as he should because he’s extremely talented.
Ji Seung-Hyun and Hwang Woo Seul Hye basically play very similar characters to what they’ve done very recently. I hope we get to expand on the very stereotypical roles they’ve been assigned. They’re good actors.
Sung Dong-Il and Ko Du-Shim share amazing synergy. I love how the director was able to snag both in the same project. Kwon Sang-Woo was a surprising addition mainly because he usually plays the 1st lead in his own dramas, I hope he’s either a very special character appearance or a very interesting addition. He’s playing the role of the obsessive fiance who can’t take no for an answer, I hope there is more to that.
“Curtain Call” has a great advantage with the way the screenwriter set things up. I also don’t think the actors signed on for just another project. I feel it can become a very special drama.
It will be 16 episodes. A part of me really hopes they don’t drag out the death of the grandmother. I want to see how and if things collapse after her death but I don’t think it should take up the majority of the screen time.
I also have a feeling we’ll get to see Ri Moon-Seong in Seoul soon. Noh Sang-Hyun is such a talented rising actor. I have had my eyes on him ever since “Pachinko” aired, he’s been gaining momentum, as he should. He’s booked and very busy. I have high expectations of his career moving forward.
I didn’t expect the screenwriter to make his character this reprehensible and frame him as a drug smuggler who is a murderer and all-around a horrible character, but I like this. Its challenging and an unexpected choice in terms of writing in my opinion. There is so much to unpack there alone. I also do not think the grandma should see him.
We have so many moving pieces and so many sub-plot that I feel could fill 16 episodes comfortably. I am usually very apprehensive about the 16-episode format, but I think if this is done right, we could be looking at a very special project. A project that actually needs 16 episodes.
I am also curious to see if they pair Ha Ji Won and Kang Ha Neul’s characters romantically or not. To onlookers, this is of course, unacceptable since they’re basically cousins, but we know thats not the case. Regardless, I feel the screenwriter should be very careful about how they handle this part if they plan on introducing romance between the two main leads. This can get negative attention from the press if handled incorrectly.
I think the screenwriter could possibly squeeze out a good 2 to 4 episodes focusing on this part alone. I wouldn’t mind not pairing them and instead pairing the two actors with their initial respective characters we’ve already seen.
Anyways, I am so excited about next week’s episodes of “Curtain Call.” I have higher expectations now.
So these are my thoughts on “Curtain Call”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.