Padam Padam – The Sound of His & Her Heartbeats: A Review.

Padam Padam: The Sound of His & Her Heartbeats (2011)
picture credits to: http://wiki.d-addicts.com/Padam_Padam…_The_Sound_of_His_and_Her_Heartbeats

I picked up Padam Padam for one reason:  the acclaimed scritpwriter, Noh Hee Kyung.

She wrote the wonderfully-written and one of my all-time favorite dramas, Worlds Within, and here she did it again with Padam Padam: The Sound of His and Her Heartbeats (which, from here onwards will be abbreviated to simply Padam Padam). I am a late-entry to this drama’s fanbase – I knew I would eventually pick it up because of my deep respect towards the writer, but I admit I was not entirely taken by the cast – something that is habitually A Big Deal in my drama-watching choices – that it really took me awhile. Plus, the fact that it aired on cable and cable’s available videos to download are inconsistent really turned me off… then a month ago I (finally) signed up to DramaFever and oh hey, there’s Padam Padam there, all subbed and iPad-version ready!

I digress, I apologize.

There is no doubt that Padam Padam is an extremely well-written drama and also incredibly well-shot. The cinematographic scenes are reminiscent of Winter Sonata – nature playing such an integral role, also such a winning one – and more than that, the characters are so intrinsically written, so richly layered that this is a drama not only for the ages – it is a drama that honest-to-God, is worthy of the heaps of praises its been flung all around. It basically redefines drama as how it ought to be viewed, in my opinion (read: art).

What I loved most about Padam Padam is the fact that this show gives no easy answers. It doesn’t exaggerate issues, like how Kdramas tend to do, rather it delves into a conflict, or several, but always presents more than two sides of looking at it. Most winning of all is hands down, the characters. At the core is Yang Kang Chil as portrayed by Jung Woo Sung, a former inmate who served 16 long years in prison and has recently been released. Together with him is Lee Gook Soo – played so brilliantly by Kim Bum who really seems to have grown leaps and bound both acting-wise and appearance-wise – who believes so wholeheartedly that he is indeed a guardian angel with big purposes to fulfill. Because of the supernatural elements of the plot, the repeated run-ins between Kang Chil and Jung Ji Na (Han Ji Min) didn’t seem ridiculous because already the writer has pretty much defined that Fate is definitely at work here.  Once that wheel has been set in motion, the consequent turn-of-events seem to work seamlessly to give a suspenseful storyline layered with heart.

I root for Kang Chil – acted so effortlessly by Jung Woo Sung (I admit, I have never watched him in anything before) – as he tries to reclaim the life he had put on hold for 16 years because of a crime he was framed for. I love him for being so positive in his outlook about life, especially despite having been dealt an unfair card in life. More so than that, for always staying true to himself: a person with a good heart who wishes no evil to anyone, yet just keep experiencing tough luck, to put it loosely.

To me, the strongest scene that made me emotionally invested to the show is the scene when Kang Chil finds out he has liver cancer. It’s that scene of him, the prison official, and Gook Soo drinking away this fact. He questioned aloud, “why me?” repeatedly, as if life hasn’t already dealt him a hard enough set of cards previously, now this too? Gook Soo remained unmoved by his words, before finally snapping, “Why not you? Do you think it makes it any more fair if it had struck your mother? Me? …” The dialogue – ah, the writer and drama-watcher in me remain in awe.

I also particularly loved scenes involving Kang Chil and his mother – played by ever-awesome veteran actress Na Moon Hee – because her character just reminded me so much of my own mother: that strong attitude, that life-won’t-get-me-down spirit. Ah, love. It broke my heart a little, I admit, when at the end he decided to live with Ji Na rather than be at home with his mother in his supposed final days… yet I see the realism in the decision too, including the coolly nonchalant way the mother accepted his decision. It breaks my heart, but I appreciate that slice of reality, for whatever it is worth.

There’s also an actor worthy of mention here: Choi Tae Joon. He played Im Jung, i.e. Kang Chil’s son – blood be damned, if it really comes down to this – and man oh man, was this guy totally owning the character or what? I felt so much for him from the very beginning and was so emotionally invested to see him have his happy ending …which he kind of did, but also with such realism that it gave me mixed feelings. I loved his character for being so innocent, in that naive way young men are. I loved the way he portrayed that innocence, especially when I think of him growing up for 16 years or so without any real family members who would call him their  own. Plus.. fine, okay, I’ll admit this: dude is so swoonworthy AND he happens to be ’91-er as myself. Hot damn.

In a nutshell, what makes Padam Padam such a solid drama for me is the fact that it is really an introspective look into each richly layered characters: Kang Chil, Ji Na, Gook Soo, Hyo Sook, Jung and Mother. Questions are asked, but there are no easy answers. It is a drama that holds its viewer with respect – not undermining us in the sense where they think we can’t think for ourselves if not presented with the elements – and I have to say, I expected nothing less from Noh Hee Kyung and so glad to say she did indeed deliver.

From start to finish, while tonally it did drag a little bit in episodes 17, 18 or so – all that sadness, oh man – both the start and especially the ending were really, in my opinion, brilliantly presented. I loved the fact that she didn’t quite go for an unconventional ending – yet the arc she took was one I didn’t see coming either. Hence, simply put: well done.

Final verdict: 9/10

A point short because while it pulled me and had me emotionally invested and reflecting for days – it only moved me insomuch. It’s weird to be admitting this, I know, especially because I’ve garnered it with so much praises (which it deserves) but that’s my only qualm: it has my respect, no doubt, but it didn’t quite own my heart enough to count.

Yet, no matter – Padam Padam is a fine example of a drama that knows what it is, what it aimed for, and trusts not only itself to deliver, but also its viewers. As a drama veteran (well kinda), my deepest respect to such a wonderfully produced drama that it is.

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10 thoughts on “Padam Padam – The Sound of His & Her Heartbeats: A Review.

  1. Awe…you were stingy with your points! It really deserved a 10 out of 10! I just finished watching this drama, and, so far, it’s the best I’ve seen! Where do I go from here?

    1. Haha I wanted to give it 10/10 trust me! …except it didn’t touch ne in the heart; strangely. So hence the slightly imperfect score. Loved it though! If you like this kinda storytelling Queen In Hyun’s Man might be a good pick next (it’s overrated in my opinion but overall good) or Nine (though I haven’t watched it yet oops). If you’re thinking of works by the writer, Worlds Within is my personal fave! I would say skip That Winter The Wind Blows…

  2. I give it 10/10,hahaha. For a non drama-lover especially romantic drama like me, Padam Padam manage to made me stick on it until the last episode. And in fact,I just watch it for the 2nd time right now :D

    1. Heyya! Aw man, second time? You must really like it! It’s a great one though, so I’m not surprised :) It’s definitely more solid than the writer’s next work, That Winter The Wind Blows (though equally gorgeous!)

      1. Then I will give it a try. I’m not really into Korean drama. So I ‘m quite shock when I can watch Padam Padam until the end,hahaha. Padam Padam is a recommendation from my sister,she is a KPop fan. Thanks for your recommendation :)

        1. OMG noooo. If you’re looking to watch another one, it’s much, much better to go for World’s Within by the same writer! It’s an older show (2008) but a personal favorite of mine and so happens to by by the same writer haha. That Winter The Wind Blows was… slow… to put it simply. The show is gorgeous, but not the best, I guess. You could give it a try, but I think World’s Within is a much better pick if you’re not a regular (K)drama-watcher! Whatever it is, hope you enjoy (and that I don’t turn you off completely from Kdramas haha)

  3. I seem to be in reverse. Just watched That Winter, The Wind Blows and loved it. Looking for something to sink my teeth to next. Only wasn’t satisfied with its ending, but otherwise I thought the pace was perfect. Funny enough, thought to watch Padam Padam or Worlds Within next and how funny it turns out they are all the works of the same writer. I think I’ll go Padam Padam first then.

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