Park Yeon-jin’s Evil Faces

As yet another teaser for a potential feature on Lim Ji-yeon’s acting, here’s a quick look at how many evil faces she makes in just one scene. The above image is from a YouTube thumbnail for her show Welcome 2 Life, which we can use as a reference. She’s expressing anger, but it’s a comedic scene. There’s a measure of indignant shock tempering the threat. By contrast, we have the following stills from The Glory:

In this scene, the character Park Yeon-jin has caught our heroine’s henchwoman Kang Hyeon-nam (Yeom Hye-ran) in the parking lot where they’re supposed to meet. This is the first face she makes, descending into frame with a horror movie music sting.

Right away, we notice how specific the color is, and the lighting. I’m not sure there are shadows in Welcome 2 Life, which is generous with its image, giving Ji-yeon almost no definition. Here, she emerges out of shadow, her sharp features painted in.

And one of the key things she does with this character is the crooked smile, with the corner of her mouth — the left, in this case — reaching upward, like she can’t contain herself. It’s predatory, and slightly prissy. Ji-yeon really taps into the anxiety-inducing mean girl in this portrait of a murderous sociopath — it’s a good touch.

“I think you may have the wrong person,” Hyeon-nam ventures, prompting a head cocked slightly to the left. “Really?” I don’t usually like shots like this (see: Search: WWW), but the darkness in the seat and the car door ensure she’s plenty visible as the point of interest in the frame. And for the sake of argument, it’s almost as if we’re hiding from her.

As we’ll discuss in that proverbial future post, cinematography plays a big role in this dichotomy between Ji-yeon performances. In Welcome 2 Life, she’s often sharing the frame with six-foot-tall Rain, but in The Glory, she fills the screen.

After showing poor Hyeon-nam evidence to the contrary, Yeon-jin’s face then scrunches up in wicked satisfaction. It’s a smile, so it’s almost playful, like, “Hey, buddy. I just wanna be your pal. Look at me, so affable,” but simultaneously so transparent. And indeed:

The scariest part, when her lower face falls and with it, her eyes open as a cold, lifeless stare, immediately reassuring that the smile, however evil, was a put-on. Yeon-jin is deadly serious about whatever torment she has in mind.

“Cut the act and get out of the car,” she says. Before we cut to credits, this is Hyeon-nam’s reaction:

Believe it or not, I’m still working may way through The Glory Part 2, despite having released almost a week ago. Actually, just now, I was browsing through the YouTube home page and got the ending spoiled, so I’m really upset and nearly posted on here just to say that.

It would’ve helped if Netflix had some sort of model where they released an episode once a week, but what would they call it?


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