The drama’s title has to do with a silver bracelet Kang Woo-Jin gives to Han Young-Won as an engagement gift. It refers to the saying, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”, reminding us that even though there may be black storm clouds overhead, the sun is still shining Beyond the Clouds.
This Kdrama fits perfectly in the romantic melodrama genre. What, exactly, is a melodrama? Well, a melodrama is described as, “a dramatic work that exaggerates plot and characters in order to appeal to the emotions, often with strongly stereotyped characters.” That’s a great way to describe this Kdrama, however, except for the romance part of it, it wouldn’t be overly far-fetched to see this type of thing happen in real life. An innocent person being set up and imprisoned for something they didn’t do could happen, and taking revenge on the one who did it might be something the wrongly accused would do once they were released. There you go… that was the plot in a nutshell. Jung Se-Ro is put in prison for killing a man he had nothing to do with. After five years, he is released and sets out to crush the person responsible for ruining his life. There’s a romantic twist in the plot, though, when Se-Ro falls in love with the woman who was engaged to the man he was falsely accused of killing – and she falls for him. Corrupt business practices, greedy family members, and jewel thieves are all a part of this drama, as well. Sounds interesting, huh?
Yoon Kye-Sang is fantastic as Jung Se-Ro, absolutely fantastic! Even though it is a role that doesn’t allow him to use his dazzling smile much, this is a character he was born to play. I loved him in Who Are You, The Greatest Love, and Triple but the character of Jung Se-Ro seems to have been made just for him. I can’t imagine any other actor being able to play that particular part as well as he did. As he is being, literally, dragged to prison in a foreign country and screaming in fear and despair, I actually felt nervous for him. For a split second I forgot he was just acting and my heart was pounding. He can cry right on cue and the sad, pained, angry, ashamed, scared faces he makes are sheer perfection.
Han Ji-Hye is quite good in this drama. I remembered her from Sweet 18 and was impressed at how her acting has matured since then. She has the sweetest smile. In the beginning of the show she smells a huge bouquet of white roses and the smile on her face makes her look like the kindest, happiest, most innocent girl ever captured on film. Since this drama is a weighty, dark revenge story there isn’t much call for her to show off that darling smile but, luckily for us, her eyes somehow twinkle even when she’s sad. I wasn’t as impressed with her acting as I was with Yoon Kye-Sang’s but, still, she was quite convincing as a naive business woman.
Cho Jin-Woong is the one major supporting actor that I think needs a short but special mention. Here goes… WOW! I had never seen him in anything before but you can be sure I’ll remember him after watching his performance in this. Wow and wow again! Watch Beyond the Clouds and you’ll see what I mean.
There was one thing that happened in the drama that I was extremely impressed with – a lack of perfection. Let me clarify that with two examples… There is a scene in an office where the character Park Gang-Jae has to walk around a coffee table. As he walks he hits his leg on it and it actually moves, makes noise, and trips him up a bit. I think that’s the kind of thing we often see in a blooper clip. Actors usually stop and giggle at the mistake and directors yell, “Cut!”, but these actors went right on with the scene and that little imperfection being left in, caused just a tiny bit of realism to occur. I liked it. Also, Young-Won is running towards Se-Ro as he’s standing in the snow and she trips. Maybe that was all scripted out but it didn’t look the least bit intentional to me. It made that “romantic” moment less perfect but helped us believe Young-Won was a normal person.
For some reason the director chose to show a lot of movements in slow motion. Every once in a while, for emphasis, it’s okay, even necessary, but this drama is full of slow motion shots. They are used way too much, almost to the point of distraction. The simple act of turning around to look at someone or walking past another person is put into slow motion in this show. Why? It’s almost like the director was given a challenge – “I dare you to put 30 different slow motion parts in your drama.” It begins to lose its effectiveness when it’s over used and, believe me folks, it’s way over used in this show.
The sound track is nothing to brag about. There wasn’t a single song that stood out as exceptional. The most positive thing I can say about it is I got used to one that, at first, I thought was annoying. That’s about it.
Beyond the Clouds was shot in both Korea and Thailand. In the first episode the main characters go to a jewelry completion in Thailand (that’s where all hell breaks loose) and the night scenery there is lovely. It’s obvious they aren’t in Korea. Good call. It’s too bad more of the show wasn’t shot there, just to give viewers a look at something new. If you’re taking your cast and crew abroad why not get as many foreign shots into the show as you can? But I was happy to even just have that one night shot for a change.
I’d like to end this review with a quote from Beyond the Clouds…
“Does a son of a criminal have to turn out that way? Maybe he was a normal kid who wanted to become a doctor or president. Because of people like you, who make judgments, maybe they end up that way after all.” – Jung Se-Ro
Something for us all to ponder.
Yoon Kye-Sang and Cho Jin-Woong’s acting
Real life imperfections
Overly used slow motion shots
Too much crying