Note: This review is an English translation of an article written in Bahasa Malaysia, which can be found here. It was written by our friend Daus who works for our partner organization, Kmania. The article was also translated by the organization with some minor edits on our part. Kdramapal is not responsible for the views and comments made by the original author.
The media’s hypocrisy in manipulating reality and falsifying the truth makes SBS’s Falsify such a dramatic piece filled with the graspable messages and deserves to be watched. Some may be impressed by the truth uncovered by a stray of journalists in the Oscar-winning film, Spotlight, but you will be instead stunned by the cunningness of those who abuse the media for their own sake in Falsify.
1. Story (9.2/10)
The media is always used as a “shadow” in fulfilling the dirty agenda of a certain group of people. It is such an efficient propaganda medium that may change public’s perceptions in the blink of an eye. The issues portrayed by Falsify are more like sensational “current news” modified in purpose to drive public attention so that the bad people’s interest can be upheld. For example, when a person attempts to commit suicide, the media can manipulate the fact, making a negative interpretation of the cause of his death without worrying about the credibility and language barrier that exists. As a result, the readers will hate the reality. It is just like one’s saying in this drama, “The journalist is the mind that will lead and drive the war.”
However, from another point of view, which is led by media jackals in this story, they still want to uphold justice by correcting the supposed role of the media in conveying the truth, independently and with reliance on their own principles.
The cat-and-mouse game purposely added makes the drama much terrific. The Daehan newspaper company continued to fabricate whatever statements made by the Aeguk digital news. Both aimed at gaining public support on the issue they want to stand up. The presence of the “Splash Team” under Daehan branch set an offset, as they explore further what Daehan’s CEO wanted to hide in front of the crowds by using the media as a shield.
Among the exciting strategies played by the opponents are shown from episodes 21 to 24 where the opponents have obscured them with the information presented to them ‘indirectly’ while at the same time, fulfilling their missions without the other party’s knowledge.
The ending also stated that the story is not hanging but confusion might arise because of how each plot interconnects with each other. There are missing scenes that should have been added to fit in the story. For example, in the last scene of Episode 31, the Splash’s strategy to upload the advertisements via Daehan newspaper did not seem to interconnect with the early scene in Episode 32 wherein Lee Suk-min and Han Moo-young meet the unnamed whistleblower. That empty space needed to be explained.
2. Acting (9.4/10)
Namgoong Min as Han Moo-young.There was a bit of a disappointment with the overacting sketched by Namgoong Min as Han Moo-young. Han Moo-young’s main mission is to avenge the death of his brother deemed very dubious, which forced him to give up his passion for taekwondo and become an Aeguk reporter. The Aeguk newspaper with its unorthodox methods will uncover what the other media may try to hide. The sincerity of Han Moo-young to uphold the truth blow up when he realized that most of the articles written by his brother in the past were actually fabricated to cover some various facts of political scenario. My comment on his acting: the body gesture somewhat disrupted the good perspectives of the ‘Han Moo-young’ persona. Besides, Han Moo-young looks ‘seemingly’ weak from all the treatments that allow him to perform the mission.
Uhm Ji-won as Kwon So-ra. The role of Kwon So-ra is typical of a prosecutor’s duty to ensure the success of Han Moo-young’s mission. Nothing can be criticized much about her acting skill.
Moon Sung-keun as Daehan CEO Koo Tae-won. Moon Seun Gyun leave a remarkable impression as the cunning, charismatic and daunting CEO of Daehan newspaper. Falsify is his comeback project in Kdramaland after eight long years. Koo Tae-won’s strategy of using Daehan to manipulate the “facts” and fabricate other press statements has caused most of Han Moo-young’s plans to fail.
Yoo Jun-sang as Splash Team Chief Editor Lee Suk-min. His character is not great at first, but it robbed my attention when his strategy to derail the Daehan CEO’s plan proves effective. Yoo Jun-sang portrayed the cool side of Lee Suk-min, who acts tough in front of his opponents and maintains his calmness even though he is incessantly pressured from the various sides.
3. Screenplay, Cinematography, & Other Techincal Aspects (8.0/10)
Little praise is given to the director who managed to develop the “abstract” concept in presenting the plot of each scene. Many are still needed to be unveiled even though the drama has come to an end. The “flashback” scenes deliberately blacken out to give a significant effect. I praise most of the dialogue used to describe the media roles.
At the end of the story, Daehan’s CEO comes out of his office when he is embarrassed by his junior. The camera is projected to the motto of the company: “Always know the wrong one from the right.” Oh, the hypocrisy.
Other compliments should be given to a strong cinematography, especially the workplaces. There is a very clear cinematography of Daehan’s CEO office which looks neat and dark, while the Splash Team office is empty but filled with cheerful team and lastly, the unprofessional Aeguk office with its jackal agenda.
Regardless, technical weaknesses are much more attributed to the editing which has caused confusion in many areas. The director should be careful to make their editing better and coincide with the plots they want to present.
4. Music score (2/5)
5. Probability for re-viewing (2.5/5)
Falsify teaches you a lot of serious things but nah, it’s not for those who watch dramas mainly for the good laugh.
OVERALL RATING: (9.2 + 9.4 + 8.0 + 2 + 2.5)/4 = 7.78