I started watching THAT WINTER THE WIND BLOWS expecting a full-blown Korean melodrama from the get-go. And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! It’s still a typical K-drama but with very nice surprises and many reasons to give it a try.
I’d like to call this drama WINTER WIND for short. Just like the winter’s wind, it’s something you have a set of expectations of: cold, freezing, can make you sick; but then, you discover it can be exciting and refreshing to feel it against your cheek. It’s the same feeling with this drama. When I first read the plot (based on a 2002 Japanese drama FORGET LOVE), I thought, very typical drama. Playboy gangster meets rich blind woman. I can already see the over melodrama plot points and I shuddered to even consider watching it.
But then, here I am… and now on episode four and so far, I want to keep on watching. And that’s coming from an anti-K-drama.
Why is this so? Here are a few reasons:
– the cinematography is just so pretty; perhaps because I’m into Instagram these days that the shots and the color palettes used remind me of those pastel photos I love on IG. The lighting is pretty and the overall product has a movie feel to it.
– the locations: the country house where Oh Young lives is just so lovely; the apartment where Oh Soo lived was just equally lovely too; the coffee shop; even the train station. They all give off that old world vibe and I think it’s all down to the lighting again. And of course, since this is a Korean drama, there’s a rooftop, and the night scenes from the second episode shot in there with the city lights in the background were so dramatically pretty (yes, I am abusing the word ‘pretty’ in this post).
– the wardrobe. When those beautiful and expensive-looking clothes were soaked in a fountain and a river in two different occasions, I felt so bad. What a waste.
– the beautiful cast. Who am I kidding? One name: Jo In-sung. I’ve loved him since THE CLASSIC. And then, there’s Song Hye-kyo, who will still look like a doll even if she’s dressed up in rags and made to look like an ajumma with her un-made-up face and unstyled hair. Then there’s Kim Beom, who still looks the same since his BOYS OVER FLOWERS days; was that really four years ago already?
– the story. At first it looked like a typical melodrama. But like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there are a lot of surprises this might as well be named “Startling With Every Step”, the K-drama version. You never quite know what to expect. You think that this character is bad and has evil plans. At the onset it seemed pretty much straightforward. The stepmother is evil. Oh Soo is a conman who’s just out to get her money. Oh Young is a helpless blind person. But along the way, many things are unraveled like the many layers of an onion. In other words, nothing is what it seems, the characters are not caricatures of good vs evil, just like how real life is a complicated daily struggle.
I know I should have had more faith in this drama considering that it’s a collaboration between director Kim Kyu-tae and scriptwriter No Hee-kyung, who were behind WORLDS WITHIN, which also starred SHK. In fact, WINTER WIND is a reunion of sorts because aside from the three, there are at least two other WORLDS WITHIN cast here: Bae Jong-ok, who plays the secretary/other woman/stepmom and Seo Hyo-rim, who is playing another bitchy role (talk about typecasting indeed). Only Hyun Bin is missing, but then who cares as long as Jo In-sung is here?
As I was watching episode 4, a feeling of deja vu suddenly struck me. Wasn’t SKH in an incest drama before with the Hallyu classic AUTUMN IN MY HEART? Of course they were not actually siblings… just like here, but it’s just an interesting trivia. And stuff that dramas are made of.
One gotta admit though that Song Hye-kyo and Jo In-sung make a beautiful couple; in fact, one of the most attractive pairings I have seen. And the story gets more exciting as the sexual tension grows between the two characters amid the unraveling of the truth.
“I who want to live meets a woman who wants to die… Even if you don’t want to die, living while you’re still alive is life.” – Oh Soo
The two leads are also satisfactory in their acting. Jo In-sung still has the tendency to exaggerate especially the eye acting but it still works for me as an audience. It does not make him less believable as a conman with ulterior motives and a changing heart. Song Hye-kyo is given the bigger challenge as a blind character and she succeeds in communicating the vulnerability of the character who needs to be tough to protect herself but at the same time feels secretly helpless.
I read there are only 16 episodes, which is good because it lessens the chances of stretching the plot to nauseous degrees. I just wonder though how this will end. A Korean movie, LOVE ME NOT, which was also based on that Japanese drama, had a tragic ending. I hate tragic endings, I am old-fashioned that way, so sue me.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to this scene already:
“Even if I don’t have a reason to live, I live because my eyes open in the morning, because I still breathe. If a person doesn’t have a reason to live, does that mean that he can’t? Because I’m still alive, I want to continue living.” – Oh Soo
Song Hye-kyo has her bottled tea but I’d like some iced GREEN tea, just like the ranking for this post.
More about this blog’s tea ranking here.
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