Jang Hyuk oh Jang Hyuk, why must you be THIS AMAZING in Chuno?
This is one post that I have to write no matter what. I mentioned earlier about how I couldn’t put my love for Chuno into words, for the fear that I’d butcher its so well put-together brilliance (tho not flawless). But I just had to break it out today. I don’t care right if I sound crazy. I don’t care if my post comes off as a mess. Heck I don’t even care if I end up not saying anything substantial or constructive about the drama. I just don’t care – because Jang Hyuk’s all I can think of right now.
I just got done with EP 16 of Chuno, easily one of my favouritest episode of the whole drama (discounting Ep 10 of course). And guess what? When I should be ranting about how I loved Un-Nyun’s character development and LDH’s fantastic portrayal of her anguish in this episode (considering my self-professed fangirlism over LDH :P), all I could think of was Jang Hyuk/Dae Gil. Why?
Well, simply because Jang Hyuk just overshadowed everyone else. He was that GOOD.
I’ve always thought of Jang Hyuk as a fine actor, not the best, but definitely one with massive acting appeal. That said, he’s not exactly flawless, and sometimes tends to over-act when it comes to conveying intense and explosive emotions. However, it is that kind of acting which overwhelmed me in his portrayal of Dae Gil in Chuno. It is that kind of raw acting which made me root for him despite his unruly and menacing ways in the drama. It is that kind of acting which will just make you ache, cry, burst and in the end, feel empty after watching. It is that kind of acting that Jang Hyuk has been delivering so wonderfully thus far (into 16 episodes of Chuno) and is continue to do better and better by every episode. Chuno, IS definitely Jang Hyuk’s game.
Chuno isn’t exactly an actor’s drama I must say. Ranging from the main characters to the most insignificant characters, most of them if not all pretty much share a somewhat equal amount of screentime in the drama. Even Jang Hyuk/Dae Gil, who supposedly holds the center arc in Chuno along with Un-Nyun/Hye Won (LDH’s character), does not dominate even one third of the drama’s screen time. It is a small gripe that I have with Chun Sung Il, but still acceptable at the moment. However, given the short screen time, it is Jang Hyuk who shines the most and Jang Hyuk, who leaves the deepest and most memorable impression.
As mentioned by many of my fellow Soompi Chunoholics, Dae Gil is a complex and layered character marred with flaws and imperfection. He is our main guy in Chuno, but rarely shows signs of what we call “goodness”. In all sense, he’s a character driven by somewhat improper motivations and always works on spur of the moment impulses. A character who shows no distinctive signs of being human on the front. And yet within that wretched soul, lies a vulnerability that nobody will ever know or see. A character drowned by cruelity and brutality of life, you cannot imagine how much more he’s capable of enduring. How much more worst can it get for Dea Gil? From losing his status, family, loved one, to his only companionship, his fellow slave hunters, Wang Son and General Choi, how much more does he have to suffer?
Having said that, I have to say that Jang Hyuk nailed every single trait of Dae Gil on the spot brilliantly. Dae Gil’s irrational and impulsive actions, Dae Gil’s menacing and malicious ways, and even his emotional and heartwrenching scenes. Every single emotion, delivered with a rawness so gripping and heart-twinging that you CANNOT possibly not feel for his character. Some commented on his overly-exaggerated emotions when shouting and screaming. But I say, with a character surrounded by so much torment physically and emotionally, it’s that kind of over-explosive acting required. To vent, to unleash and to break it all out. The outward intensities as delivered wholeheartedly by Jang Hyuk, totally called for and warranted.
Another thing about Jang Hyuk’s performance in Chuno is that you can really see the dedication and conviction he puts into perfecting the duality of Dae Gil. When DG stares in anger, or prepares to fight, those gazes alone are already capable of piercing thru one’s soul. When he drops down in despair, he cries like the world’s gonna end, like he will never live again. When he settles down and starts to think about Un-Nyun, you can feel him shiver and tremble. And heck, even when he talks, those gestures, expressions, mannerisms – they just give me goosebumps! With the finesse and intricacy in every one of those, especially his facial expressions, one cannot possibly not be moved. Impossible!
Take some of his classic scenes in Chuno – the heartbreaking and earth-shattering scene of Dae Gil confronting Un-Nyun’s brother, his crazy mad and tormented scene at the end of Ep 10, the scene of his outburst of tears and screaming when he saw Un-Nyun and Tae Ha smile so happily, his conflicted expression when he met Un-Nyun for the very first time in Ep 16, and heck even his pained expressions when fighting, all which had been brilliantly acted out by the actor, brought about heart-ache and pain to everyone, including those who don’t/didn’ support his actions or cause. A performance so gripping and haunting (to some I know) that deserved all the accolades and compliments viewers have been showering upon him.
So in any case, given Jang Hyuk’s mindblowing performance in Chuno, it’s totally noteworthy and deserving that he’s been given a Baek Sang Best Actor nomination. I glanced thru the list of contenders, and with all due respect to the other nominated actors (esp So Ji Sub and Lee Byung Hun, who’re also my favorite actors), Jang Hyuk totally PAWNS all of them. I came across predictions online, that LBH’s likely to win for his performance in IRIS. But anyone who has watched both IRIS and Chuno will know who’s the better. And who deserves it the most. If Jang Hyuk does not win for Chuno, no other winner, no matter how much I respect and admire them, will make me satisfied. Jang Hyuk ftw! =D