Sirius: the Review

sirius photo Drama-Special-Sirius_8805_poster_zpsae9f2cdd.jpgSirius (aka: Sirius B)
air date: 1.6.2013 through 1.27.2013
number of episodes: 4
I watched it: 2-day marathon

In a nutshell:  A character study of twin brothers struggling with family obligation and self-identity, cleverly delivered via a fast-paced, cops versus drug dealers, action film. The cast is small, the sets are seedy and worn, the camera work is straightforward. Which means it’s the acting that pulls us in, the story that entertains, the characters that enthrall. From the  cold and violent opening to the quiet and tender close, the twins’ struggle with each other and themselves had my heart in my mouth and my nails well bitten. Definitely worth the watch.

Spoiler free below…

A bit more detail:  The story is structured around cat and mouse games between a greasy and ambitious drug lord, Go Suk-min (Ryu Seung-soo), and the police. Mr. Go is slimy and immoral and clever, which leads to a lot of delicious mind-games and breathless chases. But, as the title suggests (see below), it’s the struggle between twin brothers, Do Eun-chang and Do Shin-woo, that brings the real meat and mystery. What’s the reason for the tension between them? Is it fixable? Are they fixable? Can they survive, not only Mr. Go’s games, but the roadblocks they throw up for themselves?

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. […] What the naked eye perceives as a single star is actually a binary star system, consisting of a white main-sequence star of spectral type A1V, termed Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, called Sirius B.” (wikipedia)

Suh Joon-young is the reason this drama-special first caught my eye. He gave powerful performances as King Sejong’s son in Tree with Deep Roots and as the young version of Uhm Tae-woong’s character in The Devil. suhjoonyoung photo suhjoonyoung_zps9bd6d7a9.jpgThey were both smaller roles, but he packed so much into his characters that they gave strong boosts to the bigger roles his were supporting. (Would King Sejong’s grief have been as meaningful, Uhm Tae-woongs regret as poignant, without Suh Joon-young’s excellent set ups?) So I was thrilled when I heard he was finally starring in a project.

He did not disappoint. Each twin is struggling with his own demon, each has wildly disparate personalities, and Suh Joon-young perfectly played them both. Even when they switch places and play each other, you can tell who’s who. You can even see, through the mannerisms they exaggerate when they take on their brother’s role, how they perceive each other — and the things they’ve missed.

The story made clever use of flashbacks — letting us know in dribbles and drabs what had built the wall between the twins. I loved how each piece of information gave a pulse of clarity to Eun-chang and Shin-woo. parkhyungshik photo parkhyungshik_zps3a52356f.jpgAnd I was thrilled to see Park Hyung-shik playing the teenage twins. I’d just seen him as the young Park Sun-woo in Nine — where he did a fantastic job — so it was an unexpected treat to see him here. (The other actor of note was Park Soon-chun playing their mom — a fascinating character in her own right. My feelings towards her swung wildly as she reacted to her two boys and as we learned more of the whys behind her actions.)

The drama kept the camera work simple — wide shots and tight shots with very little use of split screen trickery. Without tricks to see through, it actually helped build the illusion that there were two distinct characters on the screen. Coupled with the sureness of Suh Joon-young’s two different portrayals (as well as Park Soon-chun’s) I was able to forget that one actor was playing both roles. Taking Eun-chang and Shin-woo as their own person, I cared deeply for each of them and it ripped my heart to watch them struggle with each other.

The End: The ending is a bit ambiguous. But, as this is a short-story rather than a novel (at a little over four hours, it’s more like a long movie than short drama), I liked the ambiguity. That’s how shorts should end — with a sense that things will continue on past the closing credits. I felt we were given enough to carry the story onwards, so I was content. (I’ll share my little theories in a later post.) On the whole, this was definitely worth the wait and I recommend it. If you can find it. (*cough* good *cough* drama *cough*)


11 thoughts on “Sirius: the Review

  1. Ah, so you finally got to watch it. 🙂

    I’ve followed Suh Joon-young’s carreer for a while now so it was great to see him take on a bit meatier role. I think he is progressing nicely, though I do admit that he still has to work on some things, but yeah, not a bad outing.

    I like Ryu Seung-soo too but he is kinda uneven as an actor. He was wonderfully dry and dedpan in ‘Evasive Inquiry Agency’ (loved that cast as a whole – really fun drama btw) but I think he was overacting a bit too much here. Funny thing is that he played Suh Joon-young’s oder bro (a really nice growth arch, I didn’t like his character AT ALL in the beginning) in SJY’s first outing as the lead (Just You) and was my 2nd favourite character there. 🙂

    Park Hyung-shik was a revelation – one of ’em better idol-turned-actors.

    There were a few blips in the overall execution but they must have been minor irritants as I can’t really remember what they were, LOL! Looking forward to your next post on Sirius.

    • I did, I did! I was so pleased to see it got subbed — an unexpected treat. 🙂

      Ryu Seung-soo hammed it up a bit — but not enough to bother me. I’d have to watch it again to make any real judgement as, I have to admit, I was pretty focused on what the twins were up to. And since Mr. Go did a great job as cage-rattler and spoiler, I was pleased. 🙂

      I think there may have been some blips as far as the stings went — some loose threads and such. But again — I was totally willing to handwave. (Plus, I could have missed some of the details being totally unfamiliar with S.Korean police procedurals. Again, I’d have to rewatch to see if the holes were actually there.)

      On a completely different note: those of us who are sub-dependent really get a filtered take on our dramas and actors. Which is probably a “duh” statement but I’m always a little surprised when I’m reminded.

      • Looking back, I think the PD got a bit ‘artistic’ on details at times and forgot to concentrate on the bigger picture. Not that it bothered me enough to pay more than a passing notice.

        Kdrama police procedures…. Anyone expecting to get the real deal with those is in for a rude awakening. LOL! Police work in dramas belong to the same category as drama-law, drama-science, drama-sickness etc. As in, should be taken with a big pinch of salt. TEN is probably the only kdrama I’ve watched where it feels and looks like something close to real police work.

        Re. subbed dramas… I think it’s even more marked now. In the ‘old’ days with all the different subbing groups there was more diversity. It wasn’t just the trendies or popular dramas or dramas with popular actors that got picked for subbing. When I started watching dramas there were still plenty of subbed oldies but goldies available, dramas that were more ‘off the beaten track’. Most of those got lost in the wake of the MU-apocalypse. Such a pity really….

        • I guess it depends on what you define as the bigger picture? I thought the brothers’ story was fully told and explored — though sometimes the details were a little fuzzy. (How did Eun-chang get into that room, for example.) But since it didn’t effect the conflict between the brothers, I didn’t worry about it. 🙂

          Oh, I never expect realism from any media-based story revolving around the legal system. Or science. It’s all bells and whistles and let the principles fall where they may. (Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised. Not often. I’m keeping TEN on my list. ;)) But I figure, since there’s tropes and shorthand with the police-procedurals in the States, there’s probably something similar, but uniquely theirs, in Korea.

          And now, of course, I’m dying to know… MU-apocalypse? Was that the site run by that New Zealand guy who got dramatically arrested and said things that I’m sure had his attorney face-palming? Or is this something else? I needs to know!

          • It just always makes me roll my eyes when people get so worked up on how e.g the police work in kdramas isn’t at all beleavable. Well, it ain’t any different with most western shows either, like you pointed out. I can understand it if you actually work in the profession, that it may bug the hell out of you but otherwise….

            Yup, that’s what I ment with MU-apocalypse. 😀 Before that happened the ‘dark side’ was mainly in direct dl sites. It was easy and the stuff was generally available as long as the accounts were intact, which in lot of cases would have been next to forever. Then MU went down and all the other ddl providers either got warned or scared and closed shop one by one, or purged their accounts. Thus all the archived dramas disappeared too. That was an impressive amount of gigabits….

          • The hilarious (and sad) thing about Mega-upload disappearing is I’d just discovered it, like, 1 week before it’s death. It’s like I got a key to they candy-shop and then it burned down. 😦

          • Yup, that was bit of a shocker all around. Talking about disappearing…. I don’t now if you’ve heard but DCrazy has shut up shop too. Sign o’ the times….

          • Wow! I had not heard — but now Dramabean’s is all a buzz and yeah… sign of the times indeed. If it led to more easily available legal sources, that would be great. However… I’ll just hope that it’s coming and we’re in a lag-time.

  2. I’m glad to hear this is worth watching! I was intrigued when I first read about it, but it got lost in a sea of other dramas. Where did you find subs for it?

    • Ditto! And then I stumbled across it was like, oh yeah! And also yay, it’s subbed! It’s on both good drama and drama crazy, but I thought good drama had clearer visuals.

  3. Pingback: Sirius reaction post! | Creating Volumes

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