Now, Miss Ripley is a character-based drama. The narrative arc of the story depends on how well the characters are portrayed. So as much as this show is a story about how the selfishness of one can corrupt and splinter the lives of others, it’s more a study in character development. As such, the reason why this drama works so well is because of the cast, without which, the show would be nothing more than a melodramatic, far-fetched story filled with dramatic music and cut-scenes.
Let’s get the obvious reason why I’m even venturing to write a television review out of the way: Park Yoochun. I wrote a rather elongated post at YAM about my newest obsession. From it, you can fully grasp that Yoochun has carved an indelible mark in my heart that won’t soon be erased . Truth be told, I was actually rather surprised at how good he was in Ripley.
As the dewy-eyed Yutaka, his initial scenes didn’t do much to separate him from milieu flower boy idols-cum-actors. However, his transition in the show was noteworthy. Showing subtle changes in temperament is quite possibly the most difficult thing to do with great success.
Therefore, I find it hard to believe that this is only Yoochun’s second mainstream drama.
It’s all in the eyes: they expose secrets, can veil the pain of a tormented spirit, and show the weight of a person’s heart. Yoochun managed to completely transform himself in the second half of the series, allowing darkness to creep into his façade, emotion spilling over where in earlier episodes he kept them contained.
That being said, his performance pales in comparison to that of his female co-stars.
Lee Da-Hae plays Yutaka’s love interest and the focus of Ripley, Jang Mi-Ri, with chilling precision. However, given the circumstances, her character was equal parts frustrating and enraging. It is her unwillingness to understand or even care for the feelings of those around her that infuriated me.
Da-Hae is able to seamlessly portray the villain and the victimized in the span of about three scenes. All one can do is applaud her for her ability to commit so completely to a character that was as vindictive as she was pathetic. Her intense portrayal of a flighty sociopath can only be faulted for how well she pulled it off. Unfortunately, she played the role so well I found it difficult to believe anything her character said.