Over the past year and a half, if you’ve lived in the United States you’ve probably become very familiar with the words “fake news.” Well, that’s what the drama Distorted (aka Falsify) is all about.
“Big media outlets have the power to make people believe even lies.” – Splash Team Reporter Lee Seok-Min
When Daehan Daily’s Splash Team reporter Han Chul-Ho is hit by a car his younger brother Moo-Young is certain it was not an accident and decides to find the person responsible for his brother’s death. With only one thing to go on, a tattoo, he joins Aeguk, a tabloid newspaper, and begins his search for the person responsible for Chul-Ho’s untimely demise. With the help of his brother’s colleague, Reporter Lee Seok-Min; an upright prosecutor, Kwon So-Ra; the tiny staff of Aeguk Newspaper; and his deceased brother’s old newspaper articles Moo-Young goes after the murderer and discovers the words of the novelist/playwright Edward Bulwer Lytton are very true – “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Han Moo-Young was once a beloved national judo athlete until he was accused of using performance enhancing drugs. Before he is able to prove his innocence, his brother is killed and Moo-Young decides to change his profession in order to bring his brother’s killer to justice. He joins a tiny tabloid newspaper and lives by three rules – “Firstly, only write articles that earn us money. Second, we only write an accurate story where no objection can occur. Thirdly, we as trash journalists should be a little bit better than the other journalists.” Moo-Young thinks outside the box and leads with his heart. He doesn’t let fear get in the way of what he really wants.
Kwon So-Ra is a young, female prosecutor who does the right thing even when her superiors order her to do something else. She became a prosecutor for all the right reasons – wanting to help victims and keep the bad guys out of society. She believes in the law and wants to make a difference in her profession. She puts on a tough front but really has a sympathetic heart. So-Ra is determined to do the right thing even if she ends up having to do battle with everyone in the prosecutor’s office.
The leader of the Splash Team, an elite group of reporters at the Daehan Daily, is Lee Seok-Min. News is his life and he believes wholeheartedly the saying on the wall at work – “The first duty of journalism is to seek the truth.” When he decides to uncover the truth surrounding his old friend’s death he ends up having to go up against his mentor, the director of the Daehan Daily Newspaper.
Once the leader of the Splash Team, Ko Tae-Won has worked his way up to being the director of Daehan Daily. He realizes the enormous power that comes with his job title and sees himself as invincible. Director Ko believes, “A reporter is a general who leads the war of the minds in this country.”
I love Namgung Min! Once again, he gives a stunning, award-winning performance, this time in the role of reporter Han Moo-Young. Yes, he took home the Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Monday-Tuesday Drama award at the 25th SBS Drama Awards for playing Moo-Young which shows his amazing versatility as an actor. The guy acts equally well in villainous roles as he does in comedic, romantic, and serious dramatic ones. You can read more about him in my Remember, Beautiful Gong Shim, and Chief Kim reviews.
Although Uhn Ji-Won has been in a slew of different dramas I’ve only seen her in one other than this, Can Love Become Money, which I really enjoyed. But that was a romantic role and this one is a serious dramatic one. I must say I was impressed with her performance as the tough yet vulnerable Prosecutor Kwon So-Ra. Ji-Won has been in all three acting genres- film, TV and stage.
Yu Jun-Sang, who plays Splash Team leader Lee Seok-Min, has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and Film and a master’s degree in Theater Arts. His performance in My Husband Got a Family earned him the nickname Nation’s son-in-law. He is the author of the book The Invention of Happiness which is a record of his college days, time spent on the set of different productions he was a part of, and a collection of illustrations and poems he has created. The man is also an accomplished musician and singer who has released two albums, the first of which he composed and wrote the lyrics of all seven songs on the album. He can also play the guitar, piano, violin, and saxophone. In 2012 the Art Asia Fair showcased 20 pieces of his artwork. He is married to actress Hong Eun-Hee and they have two sons.
I really liked Distorted‘s message. We have to be on our toes and gather information from more than one source before we believe something we’ve read or heard because the media has the power to be very controlling. Only the reporter knows whether they deliberately distorted the facts or accidentally got something wrong. We need to be skeptical and do our best to verify the story through other means before we decide whether or not to believe it.
Journalism was my favorite subject in school. I loved investigating and writing a story and it was a huge thrill the first time I saw my name on the front page article of the school paper. Maybe one reason I enjoyed this drama so much is because it has so much to do with that industry. However, even if you’re not a journalism enthusiast I think you’ll enjoy this show. There’s a huge mystery to figure out and its fast pace definitely holds your attention.
This is one of the best put together dramas I’ve seen in quite awhile, but it can be tricky to follow if you’re not paying attention and staying on top of what’s happening. The director chose to begin flashback scenes in black and white, fade in the color and then fade back to black and white just seconds before the flashback is over. It’s a great way of making the audience aware of when things are happening. It’s a busy show with several semi-main characters and lots of names being thrown about but I was amazed at how well I was able to remember who was who and follow along with no problem. I have to be honest, though – I saw more than half of it twice. You see, I started it when the show was finally out in its entirety but after going 23 episodes into it (there’s 32 half hour episodes) the subtitles were nonexistent. For some unknown reason it took an overwhelmingly long time for the rest of the show to be fully subtitled and by then I wasn’t sure I would be able to give it a fair review if I didn’t remember it well. So I started the whole thing over and went straight through a second time. I’m sure that helped me understand everything better but it wasn’t hard to follow the first time, either.
There’s a shot that shows a specific object move by itself which I thought was really strange the first time I saw it. However, seeing it the second time through I realized it was a foreshadowing of what was about to happen. I have to be vague because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Just be watching for something that wouldn’t move on its own, to move – that’s all I’m saying.
I only noticed one error but it wasn’t a huge one. There’s a scene where Han Moo-Young and Director Ko Tae-Won pass right by each other. It’s a significant thing so the director chose to show it in slow motion. Unfortunately, we’re able to tell it was done at least twice and pieced together because as they walk by one another it shows one man looking at his phone at one angle but the same shot at a different angle has the man looking straight ahead. Clearly a mistake.
The music in the drama fits well with the tone of the show. The subject matter is serious and a bit unsettling so the soundtrack isn’t flashy at all. The songs back up the scenes, adding just the right feel to what’s going on.
The show doesn’t have a lot of vivid colors or breathtaking scenery. Like the music, the backgrounds help to intensify the uneasy feeling of the serious subject matter. More often than not, when a drama has a scene by the ocean it’s lovely. However, the harbor scene in this show takes place at night so we can’t “ooh” and “ahh” over the view, because the focus is on what’s happening there, the dark, ugly side of humankind. The contrast between Aeguk Newspaper’s building and that of the Daehan Daily is significant. Daehan is humongous and elaborately decorated, splashes of the newest technology available dotting the building’s inside. Aeguk is a tiny one room building, in a remote area, with just enough of the necessities to get by.
Should we trust all the cries of “fake news” now days or have confidence that reporters have the public’s best interest in mind and would never deliberately lead us astray? I highly recommend you watch Distorted. It might help you decide what to believe.
Original plot (relevant to today)
Storyline flows well
Scene with a cell phone mistake