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Korean Film News
THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL Debuts to Enthusiastic Reviews
Nov 09, 2018
- Writerby Pierce Conran
PARK Chan-wook Mini-Series Kicks Off 6-Episode Run on the BBC
PARK Chan-wook’s hotly anticipated TV debut, the mini-series The Little Drummer Girl, premiered to enthusiastic reviews at the BFI London Film Festival, ahead of its launch on the BBC at the end of last month. Adapted from John LE CARRÉ’s classic espionage novel of the same, the series features Florence PUGH, Alexander SKARSGÅRD and Michael SHANNON.
PUGH leads the cast as Charlie, a young actress living in London in the 1970s who is approached by a mysterious stranger named Becker (SKARSGÅRD) while on a trip to Greece with her theater company and soon finds herself swept up in an intricate spy game as Mossad agents try to thwart Palestinian terrorists in Europe.
Variety, which calls the show’s first two episodes “pretty damn fabulous”, evaluates PARK’s transition to the small screen as follows: “even under the strictures of serial television, he remains an unruly sensualist, preoccupied less with traditional narrative than with tactile details of body, environment and the aesthetics of violence.”
The Hollywood Reporter was also quick to praise the series’ sense of style, but also offered a critical counterpoint, writing that “some of the key roles feel miscast, while the stretched-out plot drags in places.” Yet the majority of critical coverage has been very positive, as the series currently holds an 86% fresh rating on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
Beyond PARK’s mise-en-scene, lead PUGH has also garnered much praise. The Guardian considers that the actress performs with such “authentic pugnacity, compressed energy and intelligence that were she not surrounded by such stalwarts as Shannon and – soon to come – Alexander SKARSGÅRD she would be in danger of making everyone else look like a bloodless cipher."
Though the series is Director PARK’s first work for television and the UK, he previously made his English-language debut with the Fox Searchlight-distributed Stoker, which featured Mia WASIKOWSKA and Nicole KIDMAN and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. PARK last stepped behind the camera for the critically acclaimed The Handmaiden (2016), which became the first Korean film to win the BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 edition of the awards earlier this year.