Expectations had been sky-high for Cash Heist: Korea – Joint Financial Space, even earlier than its launch. The unique Cash Heist from Spain (La Casa de Papel) was considered one of Netflix’s most-watched sequence and later went on to win the Worldwide Emmy Award for Greatest Drama Sequence in 2018. This crossover with the seismic power of Korean content material — within the golden age that it’s in proper now — certainly throws open the sheer scope of what Netflix can obtain with its ever-growing library of standard franchises.

For probably the most half, half 1 is a energetic journey, helmed by a extremely succesful forged. The set design of the labyrinthian Unified Korea Mint deserves particular recognition for its versatility — filled with alternatives to disclose the stressed mechanisms of money-making or to hide the machinations of those that want its riches. Viewers of the unique Cash Heist will even acknowledge acquainted narrative buildings bolstering the Korean remake: the achronological narrative, which each drives rigidity and withholds data, and the unreliable narrator, Tokyo, constantly shifting the sands of the story’s actuality.

Gaining the blessing of Cash Heist creator Álex Pina for a Korean remake, Cash Heist: Korea – Joint Financial Space launched its first six episodes (half 1) on June twenty fourth. It’s set within the close to future, the place the present Joint Safety Space between North and South Korea has been was a Joint Financial Space. An space of bitter division rapidly turns into the shining image of unification, with the thrilling promise of latest enterprise alternatives and a shared forex — printed on the Unified Korea Mint.

Nevertheless, a professor specializing in analysis on the financial influence of unification turns into more and more disillusioned by the exploitation of low-wage migrant employees and the widening hole between the haves and have-nots after unification. He then assembles a ragtag crew of eight thieves to conduct a heist of 4 trillion received on the Unified Korea Mint.

Every character from the principle ensemble feels equally able to innocence or evil, mercy or violence. Veteran actor Yoo Ji-tae, because the professor, dances between a righteous, Robinhood-like appeal and a penchant for chilly manipulation. Misplaced’s Kim Yunjin delicately balances the immense private strife that her character, senior inspector Seon Woo-jin, is going through and a high-stakes disaster negotiation amid the heist. Park Hae-soo (most just lately of Squid Recreation fame) performs the formidable Berlin, who believes in wielding energy via worry. But, privately, his unresolved trauma from surviving in North Korea’s notorious Gaecheon focus camp can rapidly flip him into an anxious determine, breaking out in a chilly sweat. Jeon Jong-seo (Burning) performs a North Korean girl, Tokyo, who’s quietly making an attempt to piece again collectively her desires after affected by fraud and abuse as a migrant employee.

Counting on the energy of its forged and modern motion sequences, Cash Heist: Korea appears extra sure about its means — get into the Mint, maintain folks hostage (however don’t kill anybody!), print the cash, get out — than its ends. After organising such a promising context and convincing universe, Cash Heist: Korea typically appears like it’s imprisoned by its personal ambition and not sure of find out how to get out.

Arguably a very powerful factor for any story to realize is to persuade the viewer to root for its protagonist(s) — nonetheless flawed they could be. We should develop to see the world from their perspective, really feel with them of their triumphs and defeats, and champion for his or her victory. Nevertheless, as soon as we glance previous the appeal of its fundamental ensemble, one would possibly query: why ought to I root for this group of thieves who’re basically looking for private riches on the expense of hard-won reunification of the peninsula? (And never root for, maybe, the hungry, overworked hostages, who actually don’t have anything to do with all of this?) If we go by the endings of earlier seasons of the unique Cash Heist, maybe it is a query that will likely be answered when half 2 comes out (date nonetheless unannounced).

A number of the most lauded Korean Netflix unique sequence in recent times — like Kingdom, D.P., or Squid Recreation — have demonstrated that its action-packed reveals are immensely able to sharp, incisive social commentary. Nevertheless, the commentary in Cash Heist: Korea feels a bit extra blunted. It’s actually there, nevertheless it will get misplaced amid the bang and buzz of the hostage disaster within the Mint.

Cash Heist: Korea.
Picture: Jung Jaegu / Netflix

The strongest and most cheap motivation comes via Tokyo. Seeing her personal “Korean dream” shatter after leaving the North Korean military and migrating to the South, Tokyo drives house a degree concerning the widening financial disparities led to by reunification and the plight of migrant employees. Within the first episode, she curses beneath her breath, “Welcome to capitalism.” The heist is her alternative for a breakthrough — and to reclaim many instances over what she feels she has misplaced via the cruelties of such an financial system.

A number of the sequence’ finest sequences truly come within the first couple of minutes of every episode, the place the present opens with a glimpse of every character’s backstory. It helps to sketch every character’s journey in a extra nuanced method, offers gravity to their trigger, and permits us to grasp why they could have joined the professor’s heist within the first place.

One other essential commentary is made via the masks that the heist crew wears, that are modeled after the Korean hahoe masks. The hahoe masks, of their various shapes, kinds and expressions, historically characterize the social standing of its characters. Within the unique Cash Heist, the Salvador Dali masks was used to precise resistance within the face of injustice, and the heist was a means of bringing monetary restoration to individuals who have been hit hardest by the merciless edges of capitalism.

With the heist crew’s adamant sense that what they’re doing is honorable and good, the six unreleased episodes that make up half 2 are left to reply: will the ends actually justify the means?

Half considered one of Cash Heist: Korea – Joint Financial Space is streaming now on Netflix.

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