THE SHORT VERDICT:
So good. It took me a couple of episodes to really fall in love, but when I did, I was mesmerized 🙂
This show is gorgeous to look at, with some truly excellent, artistically executed cinematography. I felt like I was watching a long movie, yet each episode floated by and ended before I knew it. Very different from general kdrama fare, I found it interesting, romantic & thought provoking.
Jung Woo Sung is compelling and completely believable, and Kim Bum is so endearing. The bromance is really strong in this one, though our lead couple is fantastic as well 🙂
THE LONG VERDICT:
I started watching this drama purely for Kim Bum, which is something that I thought I’d never say. I’d seen him in Boys Over Flowers, The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry, Rude Women & High Kick, and while he was very cute, I really didn’t think very much of his acting.
His image overhaul for this drama had me hooked though. Shallow as it is, just looking at the stills of him for this drama made me decide to check this out!
Those chiseled cheekbones and that casual ponytail become him. He looks so sexy. I was in.
And he did not disappoint, I have to say. I felt like his acting improved noticeably, and plus, he looked hot 😉
At first, I didn’t care much for Jung Woo Sung’s Kang Chil. I wasn’t used to having a hero that was socially awkward, rough, angry and bug-eyed so much of the time. I just found it a little too much.
But that’s the kind of actor Jung Woo Sung is. He’s an actor who will throw himself into character. There’s absolute commitment, and no vanity whatsoever. I get the sense that he doesn’t care if he looks cool or not, as long as he is being true to his character. Respect.
Once I hit episode 4, I really got into the swing of things, and I began to enjoy each of the characters.
Padam Padam is at least an hour per episode, and I actually didn’t feel it. Each episode actually seemed to float by, and before I knew it, I’d reached the end of another episode. That’s saying a lot, coz there’re lots of dramas where I’m constantly checking how much time has passed, and how many more minutes I have left before the end of the episode. I never once felt like doing that with Padam Padam.
I also have to say, the cinematography is amazing.
Everything is shot so well and presented so beautifully. The music is pleasant and never obtrusive. And it really does look more like a movie than a drama, the production values are that high.
One the things I notice is how all these elements come together with the acting to present a very tangible electric sort of chemistry between our leads. It isn’t often that chemistry like that shows up in a kdrama.
The closest similar example I can think of right now is that lava-hot tango scene in Scent of a Woman. I had held my breath during that scene, it was so hot.
In comparison though, I somehow feel like the sexual tension presented in Padam Padam is more real, more organic and more constant.
In Padam Padam, I notice that the chemistry and accompanying sexual tension pivots more on the 2 leads, and much less on the set-up. Or maybe the set-up is just that much more skillful and subtle.
I’m not sure. But at the end of episode 7, I was holding my breath as Jung Woo Sung said his closing lines to his leading lady, and the tension was so electric that I could easily imagine him having his manly, manly way with her. So. Hot.
[END MINOR SPOILER]
On all those counts, Padam Padam is truly excellent. It is gorgeous to look at throughout, and the acting is top-notch among all the main cast. I love some of the characters, and it was largely to do with the portrayal rather than the writing itself. Kang Chil’s son Jung, and his mother Mi Ja are both wonderfully portrayed and delivered with such heartfelt abandon that I really could believe that these were real people.
Jung Woo Sung is outstanding. He has some seriously difficult scenes, and he delivers effortlessly every time. He is able to show anger, vulnerability, desperation and hope all at the same time, which I think is really impressive. He is one seriously outstanding actor.
I also liked Han Ji Min in this. She manages to deliver very well, and remains likable even when her character is being selfish or closed off.
Kim Bum also does well. In fact, I think this is the best that I’ve seen from him. I think he fit the role very well, and I’m expecting even better things from him in the future.
All in all, Padam Padam was an intense ride, with moments that actually brought tears to my eyes. That’s saying something, coz I very rarely cry watching movies or dramas.
[ENDING SPOILER ALERT]
Since the beginning, Gook Soo had kept saying that there would be 3 miracles, and since the first 2 miracles saved Kang Chil’s life, I expected the 3rd one to save him too. I expected the 3rd miracle to come along and remove his cancer so that he would have a long happy ever after with Ji Na.
Instead, the 3rd miracle was Kang Chil finding happiness in the midst of dying from cancer. Sigh. That wasn’t the way I wanted it to end.
The ending was one of hope, much like the ending for Scent of a Woman.
In fact, Padam Padam does sort of feel like a cross between Scent of a Woman and 49 Days, but on steroids: taking it all to the next level in terms of cinematography, acting and directing.
Yes, there are times this dips towards melancholy, but there is a lot of warmth as you experience the characters, and that’s what the show leaves you with.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Beautiful in so many ways. Definitely recommend.
FINAL GRADE: A
One of my favorite tracks from the OST. Just gorgeous.