Pachinko review: A captivating historical epic on Apple TV Plus

Watch pachinko It is to have an audience that has something deep and sacred. Adapted from Min Jin Lee’s bestselling novel of the same name, Apple TV Plus’s most ambitious project to date is a sublime epic that questions cultural identities, national history, intergenerational memory and mourning.

The eight-episode series follows Sonja through the turmoil in her life across the 20th century, beginning with her birth in the southern port city of Busan during the Japanese colonization of Korea. Exceptional boldness and sincerity of vision resonate in every layer pachinkoIts story is infused with blazing humanity, its alloys are thoughtful, and the project features a formidable multinational team of producers, consultants, and crew. Even details like subtitles — colored yellow for Korean dialogue and blue for Japanese — introduce cultural nuances and complexity, requiring a less knowledgeable viewer to actively interact with the text.

pachinko It will undoubtedly land differently with different audiences depending on their proximity to the show’s historical context, but in the end, this is a story that seeks a spiritual response – one that will remain indelibly in the viewer’s consciousness.

Directed by Justin Chun (Blue BioAnd the jock) And the Cogunada (after yangAnd the Columbus), the series jumps between early 1900s in Korea and 1980s in Japan, taking many other detours throughout. We meet a whole host of characters from Sunja’s life: her parents, her fiancé, her children, her sister, her husband, and her parents who live in the home of her parents and grandson, Solomon Baek. The character of Sonja is played by the cast of three gorgeous actresses, Jun Yo Na (in her childhood years), Kim Min Ha (in her teens), and Academy Award winner Yoon Yeoh Jung (in her later years). pachinko It also stars Lee Min-ho (Koh Han-su), Anna Sawai (Naomi), and Jin Ha (Solomon Baek).

Nonlinear construction of time in pachinko The series marks a significant departure from Lee’s novel, which evolves chronologically, turning this adaptation into a radically different project. Some pachinkoIt leaps between past and present majestically – illustrating themes such as displacement, cultural identity, death, migration, longing, and aspiration. To be able to witness the full stretch of history, it is easy to become enamored with the characters of Pachinko, to understand the past struggle that burden them and enlighten them.

In this better juxtaposition, pachinkoThe instantaneous movements give the present the allure of the past and the sacredness of the great old tales. For example, a bowl of Korean white rice (“original” and “sweeter”) that Senja eats during another visit zainichi The lady’s house suddenly took on ancient meanings: the echo of childhood, the generosity of the grain seller, the gift of a mother’s parting. Knowing past events through the interruption of scenes, these meanings become touched by the sacred sorrow of all that one loved and lost, but also subdued by the solace that memory brings.

However, in other moments, there is a question as to whether these time-jumps are Sunja’s bland experience for the sake of television suspense and interrupt the emotional journey a viewer might be taking with Sunja. pachinko It would have worked better if he was stingy with the number of cuts between the past and the present, allowing viewers to stay with the characters and grow with them. One episode in the latter part of the series also takes a historical turn that feels particularly disconnected from the rest of the story. However, these bumps do not eliminate the shine pachinko The sheer strength and momentum of her story surely drives her from start to finish.

In addition to his preoccupation with time, pachinko It is also a meditation on the Earth. Solomon Bayek, Sonja’s grandson, well-groomed and educated in America, is caught between several identities and cultures. Despite having a track record of successful deals, he was denied a pay raise and promotion – and the attendant respect – at his financial firm in New York. To impress senior management, he faces the challenge of grabbing a final small plot of land on a site in Tokyo that has been slated for future hotel development. He is unfazed by the “One Land Ownership”[ing] The whole deal is a hostage” – an elder zainichi Korean lady, Han’s grandmother. She refused to sell her house on the site, turning down repeated offers from developers.

Photo: Apple

A panoramic view of the giant construction cranes and equipment already on the site shows that the ground is flat all around. The area has turned bleak brown, primed for the development of the towering spiers and soaring heights of Tokyo, an inviolable proof that the machines of cosmopolitan and capitalist progress are still alive and kicking. We know that Grandma Han – who moved to Japan in 1929 – bought the plot in 1955 for 4,000 yen. Besides sharing his grandmother’s stories and cultural backgrounds similar to Icebreaker, Solomon tries to charm Grandma Han with rare gifts and a growing offer worth 1 billion yen, but she is still unwilling to sell the house. He reassures her, “Grandma, you won. Today you will secure a great fortune for your children and their children.” Solomon’s colleague, screaming Tom Andrews, cannot understand, describing Grandma Han’s plot as “a little piece of filthy land.” Another colleague, Naomi, tactfully suggests, “It’s not about the money, and it’s not about her.”

Grandma Han painfully shares with Solomon that her children, who were born and raised in Japan, “don’t even know the language their mother dreams of.” The Japanese occupation of Korea uprooted her homeland from under her feet, forced her to move to Tokyo, and then split her native Korean from her children and offspring. If land is the beginning of belonging, then colonialism is the painful rupture of this principle: the colonizer becomes exile in his own home. For an elderly Korean woman who does not want to sell her home in Tokyo, clinging to this piece of land in her colonial country is thus an act of radicalism—a redemptive rebellion, a reclaiming of space born from the ashes of a personal and national tragedy. .

In many ways, the magnitude of the file pachinko The series extends far beyond the small screens we see on it. It speaks to – and challenges – our cultural moment. pachinko It is a (long overdue) redefinition of what the “support column” content of a major broadcast tape might be: who tells its story, where it comes from, and who should have more seats at the table. Pachinko has the qualities that make it the new standard bearer for what a streaming device can aspire to, given the international resources, global reach, and creative expression that a streaming platform like Apple TV Plus provides. at pachinkoTogether, Apple has woven an extraordinary project that we hope will bode well for the future.

pachinko for the first time Apple TV Plus On March 25th.

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