The real world is where monsters reside …

beautiful mind dr frankentstein jang hyuk

He lives down in a ribcage in the dry leaves of a heart

Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs

Beautiful Mind  (2016)
Also known as
Dr. Frankenstein
 Melodrama,    Mystery,    Romance
Written by
Directed by
Mo Wan Il   &    Lee Jae Hoon
Country of Origin
South Korea

oh! … brief

Mysterious deaths at the Hyungsung Hospital bring together a local traffic officer (aspiring to become a detective) and an aloof neurosurgeon (recently returned from the US). Working in parallel the two unravel the mystery behind the deaths.

oh! … talks drama

I cannot understand why the ratings for this kdrama were so low, I was hooked after the first episode! This drama was, no, is, phenomenal!

And all those reviews out there saying that this drama is based on Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” don’t know what the hell they are writing! This drama is NOTHING like Frankenstein, not even remotely and certainly not loosely. So, stop! Just stop with the nonsense and if you want to prove my point go and read an original copy of Frankenstein! Seriously! One person makes the mistake of spouting nonsense and you all get on the bandwagon and copy. Try doing an original review and follow the facts, not fiction!

Kim Tae Hee wrote a very compelling premise for this kdrama thriller. The main story is credible while the backstory for the male lead is plausible. The only issue I had with the writing was the medical aspects (not always accurate or narrated accurately) and the miraculous recoveries were somewhat silly. I suspect though this was more to do with Mo Wan II and Lee Jae Hoon’s directing than the script interpretation. Aside from these oversights, the drama was well written, including the attention paid to the narration.

I particularly enjoyed the insinuations to psychopathic tendencies and the exploration of what a ‘monster’ is and what machinations are needed to bring a monster into being – genetic disorder, upbringing and environment, medical history, or human nature. The surprising aspects of this exploration dig only beneath the surface, there is so much more that could have and should have been explored, but what was accomplished was well beyond my expectations. I was impressed.

The neurosurgeon’s (Lee Young Oh) backstory is compelling – moving and emotional. The character development written into the script was exceptionally well-planned, researched, and implemented. Another impressive accomplishment.

Alongside the fact that the romance between the two leads takes a secondary lead, the writing of interactions between medical staff and the main characters is far more authentic for this drama than any other I have yet encountered. There are no awkward or forced scenes and the leads do not need to be constantly in each other’s presence. They genuinely live their lives, go through their own obstacles and hurdles and this is common in scripts written by Kim Tae Hee. Another skill is the character development, ongoing and consistent from start to finish. The writing was truly superb!

Overall the writing for the drama and narration was dark and compelling, just my cup of tea! It is no surprise that as someone who appreciates crime, mystery, horror and thriller genre’s, this one had me hooked all the way to the end.

The directing was for the most part of the money! Scenes were well-planned out and delivered thanks mostly due to the outstanding cast. If there was a flaw, I’ve already mentioned it – the medical diagnosis, procedures, and recovery periods. Also, the fact that one would shave the head of a neurosurgical patient! These are little aspects that can be overlooked because the writing and characters were so well-developed, but in hindsight, the director should have put more effort into delivering these aspects. That would have neatly packaged the drama completely. The surgeries could have been portrayed in a better way to be more realistic, although they were not too bad, I’ve seen worse.

Bernard Park wrote and sang the song “Dirt” that accompanied this drama and it’s so beautiful! It mirrors the mood and sentiment of the drama and just listening to it again as I write this review, I’m transported back to the great moments of the show – whether it’s saving the lives of patients or the amazing kiss scenes our two leads perform. Or the beautifully transfixing scene in the car when Lee Young Oh finally breaks down! This song will always remind me of those moments!!

The cast was mostly well-cast.

The male lead (Lee Young Oh) had originally been offered to Kim Soo Hyun, Yoo Ah In, Lee Jong Seok and Choi Jin Hyuk – all of them refused. Jang Hyuk accepted the role and it couldn’t have been a better fit. He is such a skilled actor – particularly with complex roles and this one was exceptionally complex. He perfectly imitated a psychopathic personality, I wonder how much research he did to get the flat tone to his voice and actions? It was mesmerising but completely dark. I was really interested in how the story would develop the nuances of psychopathy and they did a fair job in the beginning. I would have liked to see more of the scary nature of his personality throughout, but we don’t always get what we want in dramaland – I know that! Jang Hyuk’s perfect delivery of an emotionless character was astounding. It is exceptionally difficult to be consistently flat – our face, quirky habits, even minor tics give away emotions. But not Jang Huyk! His performance was intense and arresting.

Balancing the darker nature of Lee Young Oh was Officer Jin Sung, the police traffic officer who aspires to be an investigator/detective and who has the natural born instincts to succeed. The writing for this character was superb (as mentioned), but Park So Dam brought this character to life with her own unique quirky interpretation. The fact that Park So Dam has this natural innocence about her person was undoubtedly part of the reason behind choosing her. Like Yin and Yang so too was the chemistry between Jang Hyuk and Park So Dam. It was natural, organic and as authentic as I have seen naturally. There was just the right balance of sexual tension and angst between the two to make the beginning of the story credible. And later the chemistry and emotions become more and more apparent.

With the combination of playing an in-between major and minor role, Heo Jun-Ho had perhaps the second most complex character to play –  Lee Gun Myung, Lee Young Oh’s adoptive father. This character is the key character to the question, “What makes a monster?”. An unlikeable and surly character at best and Heo Jun-Ho was exceptional in delivering the facetious facial expressions. The writing behind this character was phenomenal and the true monster(s) is (are) eventually revealed and they’re not who you expect them to be. The chemistry between father and adopted son is strained and competitive and each has an agenda of their own, one slightly more demented than the other. How much more demented can you be? A huge round of applause though to Heo Jun-Ho who made me hate his character from the very first line he delivered and I don’t think there was any room by the end to even feel an iota of empathy towards him. What a stupefying performance!

The second male lead and of course the third wheel in the love triangle that appears in almost every single kdrama (so much so it’s nauseating!) is a cardiothoracic surgeon called Hyun Suk Joo. He’s Gye Jin Sung’s crush having developed a doctor-patient relationship over the years. But neither character has ever made a move on the other, besides friendship and professional relationship. Yoon Hyun Min did such a fine job of bringing the character to life. I’d have liked to see a little more strength in the character, but the gentle nature and camaraderie were convincingly delivered. There is no tension in the chemistry between Hyun Suk Joo and Lee Young Oh, there are respect and understanding and a measure of trust. And there isn’t any jealousy either. They simply exist in the same time and place and do their best for their patients. It’s refreshing!

“The Gossip Guys” – a group of five sometimes six doctors and anesthesiologists who sit around and gossip or strategize. They’re funny and such women! The group consists of So Ji Yong, played by Min Sung Wook, Kwon Duk Joong played by Kim Do Hyun, Yoo Jang Bae played by Lee Sung Wook, Oh Kyung Jin played by Jo Jae Wan, Hwang Jung Hwan played by Jung Moon Sung, and Yang Sung Eun played by the cute boyish Dong Ha. They add some light relief and amusement.

oh! … sidekicks

There were so many great performances played by supporting cast, including those by the following:

Nam Ho Young played by Lee Jae Woo – what a cutie pie! I look forward to seeing other productions he is in because I think there’s a great actor just waiting to find the right role.

No Seung Chan played by Kung Hyung Jin – I love this guy, I want to see him in a production with a larger role, so far I’ve only seen him playing minor roles but he is so good and natural!

I loved Ha Jae Suk who plays nurse extraordinaire Jang Moon Kyung. This is the first time I’ve seen her in anything, I will be looking for her in other drama or film. She’s done a few of both.

Perhaps my favourite though was the cameo by Lee Jae Woo. His interpretation of the minor role as character Joo Yoon Ho was too tragic for words! He is a great actor and a very handsome young man. I would like to see him again in another production with a much bigger role. I’ll have to investigate. I try not to let looks dictate what I watch, I prefer acting skills and writing to dictate what I add to my list. I might just make an exception for this guy!

oh! … that’s a wrap

There’s not a lot to say to convince you that this is a great kdrama, despite the fact that it didn’t get the all-important ratings. If you follow ratings and allow them to dictate what you should watch then you’ll miss this diamond in the rough or little gem. Because, that is exactly what this kdrama is, an exceptionally well-written drama, with fantastic plots and twists that aren’t too excessive or mind-bending. The right amount of mystery and intrigue, alongside thrilling aspects.

This kdrama is a classic for me, I’ll watch this again and it won’t be too long before I do.

oh! … soundtrack

oh! … gallery

oh! … trailers

Written by