K-drama Lost: Jeon Do-yeon, Ryu Jun-yeol star in well-acted but morbid drama centred around depression and social alienation

Itaewon Class, Secret Sunshine, A Taxi Driver, Believer

People look to entertainment for many things, but chief among them is escapism. TV drama in particular invites us to shake off the stresses of our day and lose ourselves in the vicarious pleasure of seeing the downtrodden triumph and the lovelorn embraced on our screens. But not every show seeks to lift us up.

JTBC’s Lost, a new series billed as a 10th anniversary special event for the cable channel responsible for hit shows such as SKY Castle and Itaewon Class, presents us with some very unhappy people who seem unable to improve their lot in life. Misery and self-pity commingle in this handsome and introspective, but at times lugubrious series that focuses on heavy themes such as depression.

Lee Boo-jung (Jeon Do-yeon) is a forty-something woman who used to work as an editor at a publishing house but is now a housecleaner for wealthy high-rise dwellers. Most of her family seem unaware of her current employment.

She is married to Jin Jung-soo (Park Byung-eun), a manager of a fancy supermarket, but whatever love brought them together seems like a distant memory by the time we meet them. Sure to complicate matters further down the road is Kyung-eun (Kim Hyo-jin), the old flame that appears before Jung-soo.

Similarly adrift is Lee Kang-jae (Ryu Jun-yeol), a suave 27-year-old man who works as a proxy for clients, either going on dates with older women looking for company or standing in for people at events such as weddings. Kang-jae lives down the hall from Boo-jung’s father, Chang-sook (Park In-hwan), who goes around collecting used cardboard for a pittance.

As the show kicks off, Kang-jae is hit with the news that his friend has just died, having apparently committed suicide together with a woman. Since there’s no one else to do it, Kang-jae and another friend organise the funeral.

Boo-jung is also having a bad day, having been rudely talked down to by her starlet client and made to feel like a low-life by a busybody neighbour objecting to her use of the building spa. She comes home to discover a police summons for having written malicious online comments, but only after her mother-in-law tore open her mail and read it first, setting off a spectacular shouting match.

As Kang-jae tries to tie up his late friend’s affairs he reflects increasingly on what he feels to be the futility of his life. Boo-jung is in a similar head space, except that she has a clear target for her inner rage, as she feels wronged by the author she ghostwrote for, who is the same woman who brought the charges against her.

Boo-jung and Kang-jae begin to cross paths more, especially after Kang-jae witnesses and pities Boo-jung during some of her low moments. Before long, however, Kang-jae gets a job offer that is likely to bring them even closer together, but not for happy reasons.

Itaewon Class, Secret Sunshine, A Taxi Driver, Believer

Ryu Jun-yeol in a still from Lost.

Jeon Do-yeon is known in South Korea as the “Queen of Cannes” after earning the best actress award at the film festival in the French city in 2007 for Secret Sunshine. Ryu Jun-yeol became a household name with Reply 1988 and turned into one of the country’s top film stars through roles in movies such as A Taxi Driver and Believer.

Hur Jin-ho, a director known for classic film melodramas such as Christmas in August and One Fine Spring Day, makes his drama series debut on this show, which he co-directed with Park Hong-soo, who made the film Commitment and recently served as assistant director on Hur’s last film, Forbidden Dream.

The writer of the series, Kim Ji-hye, also hails from the film world, having penned Hope and My Love, My Bride. Kim very loosely adapted the series from Osamu Dazai’s 1948 Japanese novel No Longer Human. The Korean name of the show, which translates as Disqualified From Being Human, is the same as the original Japanese title.

Itaewon Class, Secret Sunshine, A Taxi Driver, Believer

Park Byung-eun (left) and Jeon Do-yeon in a still from Lost.

That’s a lot of film talent here, and while we’ve seen plenty of film stars and directors migrate to the small screen in recent years, we would expect such an assemblage of names to be signed on to a limited series, perhaps on a streaming platform such as Netflix.

Lost, however, is a traditional 16-part drama with episodes stretching as long as 80 minutes. While the show does have a cinematic tone, the staging is quite slow.

Well shot and broodily acted, Lost has a very clear mood and aesthetic, but the wistful voice-overs and the story’s fixation on death and decay don’t make for an easy watch. The opening episodes features several suicides, a lot of people mistreating each other, and protagonists who mope through a wintry and emotional sterile Seoul. With late summer on its last legs, the climate of the show alone clearly evokes a downbeat mood.

Itaewon Class, Secret Sunshine, A Taxi Driver, Believer

Jeon Do-yeon (left) and Ryu Jun-yeol in a still from Lost.

The question going forward is what kind of an emotional payoff can we expect from this story? At this point it’s hard to imagine a cathartic endpoint, and even if that were reached, it might constitute a betrayal in a show that is attempting to examine depression and social alienation.

Lost is streaming on iQiyi.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

K-pop stars set to perform at 'World K-pop Concert' next month

SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) — A two-day Korean culture festival will bring together K-pop acts like NCT Dream and aespa next month to provide comfort to people around the world ... Read more »

HKEX profit falls 3 per cent in third quarter profit as IPOs slump on China crackdown

Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) reported a 3 per cent profit decline for the third quarter, better than analysts’ expectations, as it was affected by a slowdown ... Read more »

5 K-pop and K-drama stars who were exempted from military service, from Hospital Playlist's Jo Jung-suk to rapper Simon Dominic and Forest star Park Hae-jin

Given South Korea’s military service requirement for its citizens, many K-pop and K-drama fans sadly anticipate the day their favourite stars need to take a 20-month break from the entertainment ... Read more »

US exploring how banks can hold and trade cryptocurrency like traditional assets, FDIC chairman says

A top US bank regulator said US officials are looking to provide a clearer path for banks and their clients that are looking to hold cryptocurrencies, in order to keep ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks fall the most in three weeks as tensions in US-China relations resurface

Hong Kong stocks dropped by the most in three weeks, as the sudden flare-up in US-China tensions weighed on sentiment. The Hang Seng Index fell 1.6 per cent to 25,634.35 ... Read more »

Angelina Jolie's hair extensions at the Eternals premiere go viral on the internet for making her mane look choppy and unkempt

Angelina Jolie had a beauty blunder at the Eternals premiere in Rome, Italy. Jolie, who plays Thena in the movie, attended a screening of the film at the 2021 Rome ... Read more »

Demand for homes in frontier town Sha Tau Kok rises after government unveils plan to develop Northern Metropolis near mainland China border

Properties in Sha Tau Kok, a sleepy town in the far north of Hong Kong, have enjoyed a spurt of popularity after the government unveiled plans to develop the northern ... Read more »

Evergrande's crisis puts Hong Kong-China debt restructuring accord to the test before ink runs dry on pilot agreement

A cross-border arrangement between Hong Kong and Beijing over corporate restructurings could soon face its first real test as China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted property developer, teeters back ... Read more »

China industrial profit growth accelerates despite rising price of coal, supply shortages, power rationing

Profits at China’s industrial firms rose at a faster pace in September even as surging raw material prices and supply bottlenecks squeezed margins and weighed on factory activity. Profits jumped ... Read more »

Lantau's popularity grows among bankers, lawyers looking to rent luxury property as pilots desert the island

Local residents, bankers and lawyers have replaced pilots as top renters of luxury property in Lantau amid diminished prospects in the aviation industry, according to property agents. Rents of high-end ... Read more »

Can Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing, the tycoon dubbed ‘superman', save the planet with ‘edible plastic', seaweed food cartons?

Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Hong Kong’s best known billionaire, Li Ka-shing, said its investments in sustainability projects from “edible plastic” to fake leather and plant-based chicken nuggets ... Read more »

Beijing short video ad agency backed by ByteDance and Xiaomi files for IPO in Hong Kong

A four-year-old Beijing-based advertising agency, which sells time slots on China’s popular short video platforms to advertisers, began offering its shares to investors in Hong Kong on Tuesday with the ... Read more »

TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat grilled on child safety by US lawmakers

US senators put executives from YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on the defensive on Tuesday, questioning them about what they are doing to ensure young users’ safety on their platforms. Citing ... Read more »

Trying to quit smoking? E-cigarettes won't help, and may do more harm to lungs and make you relapse, study suggests

Some studies have suggested switching to e-cigarettes could help smokers stay away from regular cigarettes, which generally contain more harmful chemicals when burned. But new research shows the opposite effect. ... Read more »

US Federal Communications Commission revokes China Telecom America's operating licence, citing national security

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday voted to order China Telecom Americas to stop providing telecommunication service in the United States, citing national security concerns. The move, announced ... Read more »

China's e-commerce platforms ban keyword search for Squid Game-related products, but merchants find workarounds

China’s major e-commerce platforms have apparently banned keyword search for products related to hit Netflix show Squid Game , which has prompted merchants to devise workarounds for consumers to find ... Read more »

SMIC's new Shenzhen semiconductor plant offers glimpse at China's effort to fight global chip shortage

A new chip fabrication plant from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) will cover a land area equal to about five football fields and mainly produce display driver and power management ... Read more »

16-year-old S. Korean violinist wins second prize at Paganini contest in Italy

SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Yonhap) — A 16-year-old South Korean violinist finished second at a prestigious international competition in Italy earlier this week, his school announced Tuesday. Chung Nurie took the ... Read more »

[Today's K-pop] EXO's Kai to return with solo music next month: report

(Credit: Elle Korea)Kai of EXO is preparing a new solo album that will be released at the end of November, according to local media reports on Tuesday.  Label SM Entertainment ... Read more »

Jack Ma visits Dutch research institutes as Alibaba's founder pursues post-retirement passion in agriculture technology

Jack Ma, the founder of the world’s largest e-commerce platform Alibaba Group Holding, is visiting research institutions in the Netherlands to further his interest in the technology of agriculture, according ... Read more »

Netflix K-drama Reflection of You: Go Hyun-jung stars in moody melodrama heavy on style but light on story

Reflection on You, a new moody melodrama from JTBC featuring Go Hyun-jung and Shin Hyun-been, opens with every mother’s worst nightmare, as a teenage daughter winds up in hospital after ... Read more »

New dramas about K-pop stars to air next month

The cast members of the upcoming SBS drama, “Let Me Be Your Knight” / Courtesy of BIG OCEAN ENM, SUPERMOON PICTURES By Dong Sun-hwa New dramas about K-pop stars are ... Read more »

Tesla completes Shanghai data centre, innovation hub as carmaker joins elite US$1 trillion valuation club

Tesla, the first carmaker with a market cap of US$1 trillion, has finished constructing a data centre and research hub in China, quickening its localisation pace in the world’s largest ... Read more »

[INTERVIEW] 'Life of K-pop star is tough, but I would do it again in my next life'

Sera, a former member of disbanded K-pop girl group, 9MUSES, speaks during a recent interview with The Korea Times at a studio in Mapo-gu, northern Seoul. Korea Times photo by ... Read more »

Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha star Kim Seon-ho did no wrong amid abortion scandal, took care of his partner when facing an unplanned pregnancy, new report says

South Korean star Kim Seon-ho’s career took a nosedive last week when a scandal involving a former relationship broke the day after the finale of his hit series Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. ... Read more »

Evergrande fallout: Modern Land defaults on US$250 million bond as investors question Chinese developers' willingness to pay

Modern Land (China) added to a string of defaulters among Chinese property developers after it reneged on a US$250 million bond on Monday, highlighting investor concerns about the willingness to ... Read more »

Make the switch to cheaper renewable energy and stop wasting trillions on a system that is killing us

For decades, we at the Rocky Mountain Institute (now RMI) have argued that the transition to clean energy will cost less and proceed faster than governments, firms and many analysts ... Read more »

How does the tourbillon work and how did it revolutionise watchmaking? Invented by Breguet in 1801, Bulgari, Richard Mille and Jaeger-LeCoultre still love it today

Among all the complications in the world of luxury watchmaking, there are few that are as visually captivating as the tourbillon – literally the “whirlwind”. Invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet for ... Read more »

Aespa member Giselle apologizes for racial slur

By Dong Sun-hwa Aespa’s Giselle / Courtesy of SM Entertainment Giselle of K-pop girl group aespa issued an apology Monday for making a racial slur while singing an American pop ... Read more »

4 ways V trolls his BTS bandmates, from teasing Jungkook while he's working out to asking J-Hope to order him food … in his sleep

BTS member V never fails to grab K-pop fans’ attention, whether it’s for his vocals or for being crowned the “most handsome man in the world” – as two media ... Read more »

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were his neighbours: French chef in Hong Kong Maxime Gilbert talks madness on the Med, Michelin stars and learning from Yannick Alléno

“I was born in Cognac, near Bordeaux, in the west of France. My father worked for a cognac company called Aldi. He spent six to 10 months of the year ... Read more »

Why Hongkongers looking to settle in the UK should buy a home before they emigrate

The National Security Law imposed in June last year has sparked an exodus from Hong Kong. Nearly 65,000 Hongkongers have applied for British National (Overseas) visa this year, and tens ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks drop as earnings season offers few sparks with Alibaba Health's profit warning while BYD gains on spin-off plan

Hong Kong stocks declined as investors looked for signals in the current earnings season to gauge the strength of economic recovery from the pandemic. Alibaba Health Information slumped on profit ... Read more »

Bitcoin is concentrated with few investors, and mining could be susceptible to a 51 per cent attack, study finds

Bitcoin’s surging popularity hasn’t changed one of its original attributes. Its ownership is still concentrated in just a few hands. The top 10,000 individual investors in bitcoin control about one-third ... Read more »

Buffett-backed EV maker BYD gets approval from Hong Kong bourse for semiconductor unit spinoff in Shenzhen

BYD, the Warren Buffett-backed Chinese battery and carmaker, said it has received approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange for the proposed spin off of its semiconductor unit in mainland ... Read more »

BN(O) emigrants: freedom and better work-life balance see Hong Kong family relocate, buy property in the UK

For Elise Kong and Ming Wong, the freedom offered under the British National (Overseas) visa scheme was the clincher that made them decide to sell their home in Hong Kong ... Read more »

Investors turn Hong Kong hotel assets into co-living space on higher occupancy, profit appeal

Co-living projects are delivering higher occupancy and profits for property owners, underpinning efforts to acquire and convert hotels as the hospitality industry continues to suffer from tough Covid-19 measures, according ... Read more »

Breast cancer survivor in Hong Kong on how exercise helped her battle the disease, overcome treatment side effects and depression, and improve her quality of life

Nikki Chan was more than a little surprised when she was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast cancer in 2020. Aged 41, she considered herself an “active and sporty” person who ... Read more »

[Herald Review] BTS embraces vulnerability, connects with fans in ‘PTD On Stage'

“BTS Permission To Dance On Stage” takes place in Seoul on Sunday. (Big Hit Music)Over the past year, global K-pop sensation BTS‘ virtual concerts have showcased impressive technological innovation, creative ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic