Another remake for the year, and this time it’s an adaption of an unconventional and unique Japanese drama.
Based on Sora Kara Furu Ichioku no Hoshi (One Million Stars Falling from the Sky) that first aired in 2002, The Smile ha Left Your Eyes or Hundred Million Stars From The Sky (alternate title) is a Korean remake of the series which tells the story of a fateful encounter that was possibly created by design. Kim Moo-Young (Seo In-Guk) is an indifferent and mysterious man who works as an assistant at a microbrewery while Yoo Jin-Kang (Jung So-Min) is an up and coming career woman who works at an advertisement design firm. She’s the younger sister of Yoo Jin-Gook (Park Sung-Woong) whose been a veteran homicide Detective for more than 20 years and the only family Jin-Kang has.
Yoo Jin-Gook comes across a case of a young female who is believed to have committed suicide but it turns out to be a masked murder. Jin-Gook suspects Moo-Young to be involved in the incident somehow and begins to privately investigate as no one believes him, everyone writing Moo-Yonug off as a victim of coincidence. He becomes even more alarmed when Moo-Young begins to become close to his sister, unravelling a past that connects all of them together and making him question the very moment Moo-Young and Jin-Kang became acquainted with one another.
It’s a dark melodrama and thriller tale that’s a bit raunchy at times with all the mystery and womanizing, making you ponder since the premiere doesn’t give much away on what the drama is all about. Seo In-Guk is the antihero shrouded with this sense of doubtful melancholy that may be concealing his sinister side or a side of him overlooked and misinterpreted by others.
And although I say Moo-Young is a ‘womanizer’ it’s more of an indifference he has towards the women he’s dated as there’s this sense of nonchalance and ‘just going with the flow’ attitude he sustains in his relationships. He doesn’t care for what the women he dates think and doesn’t make an effort to reveal any true feelings until Jin-Kang comes into the picture. He refrains from serving her up the lies he’s easily created and dished out to other women and is more real and honest around her than anyone else. It might be a ploy and the mastermind plan if he is in fact, the potential killer but he could also be drawn to a woman who shares the same wretched past, falling for her with sincerity.
Our main leads aside, every character is complex and buried under varying layers of mystery since they all have something to hide.That being said, the story is elaborate with intricate characters but because the pace of the drama is steady with a sedated feeling, you never feel as if the twists and progression of the story are ever thrown in your face or uncalled for. After watching four episodes (2 weeks) I can affirm that it’s tightly knit and well made in this regard and proves that the show provides quality. This is one for the grown ups. No nonsense and filler content to be found here. But don’t sit back and relax since certain characters form different degrees of obsession, whether it’s the caged Seung-Ah or the distraught Jin-Gook. As the story moves, our characters repressed and unstable emotions escalate.
The cast all complement one another and I’m pleasantly surprised at how well Jung So-Min has been able to portray her complicated relationships with her brother and love interest. The synergy she creates with Park Sung-Woong as his younger sister is entirely believable while the convoluted relationship she has with Seo In-Guk is intense and mesmerizing.
Compared to her past works, I never expected the actress to be able to deliver Jin-Kang so well because I’m more accustomed to her playing a side character or the easily drawn out female lead in a romance. She was fantastic in Because This Is My First Life but there was a lot of internal dialogue given to the audience, whereas this show withdraws from giving us a person’s intentions and internal emotions, so the actors are really selling us performances based on what we see on the outside.The effect of seeing through the cracks is provided through their expressions and mannerisms, especially when it comes to Moo-Young and Jin-Kang since the actors give us this form of awareness where we simply know that so much thought is filtering through the characters’ minds.
As to the show being a remake, from what I’ve seen circulating around the internet (sorry guys, I couldn’t find the Japanese original that was subbed in English to make a comparison) it’s a close retelling of the original work with a few changes here and there. What people are hoping for however, is an alternate ending since the original work ends with something along the lines of shocking and disappointing…take what you will from that. It could mean plenty of different things but hold your breath when the finale comes around, I suppose.
If I had to give an opinion on this solely as a Korean drama, it’s difficult to rate but I think it’s great in its ambitions to depict convoluted bonds and an antihero who might be the climatic villain who fools us all or a victim of tragedy.
Release Date: October 3, 2018 (Eng Sub available on Viki)