One of the first dramas I started in 2022 and also one of the first 2022 dramas I finished in 2022. It is an easily accessible Japanese drama since it is on NETFLIX WHICH IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING! I love that we are getting more access to Japanese dramas as the years go on and I don't have to go on the hunt for them. Have you watched The Journalist yet? Is it on your radar? Maybe my review will convince you to check it out OR maybe it will solidify that it is not the drama for you. WE WILL SEE!
*Now as per usual with any review I write, I will not be including any spoilers in this review.*
A QUICK SYNOPSIS OF THE JOURNALIST - A journalist pursues the truth about a government corruption scandal even as powerful enemies seek to quiet her and stop her from uncovering the truth.
Overall, I liked this drama. I had very different expectations going into this drama because I watched the trailer and formed opinions and expectations from it. I did not get what I expected so it took me a couple of episodes to get past my expectations and get into the drama. It was still very enjoyable and high quality. I would still recommend that you check this one out, just don't go in with expectations like I did.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS DRAMA
THE ACTING - One of the best things with this drama is the acting. I knew this drama would have great acting given the caliber of the cast, so I was not surprised that I enjoyed the acting so much. I was familiar with some of the cast and others this drama was my introduction to them, and I was impressed. Each actor played their character so well. There is a lot to say about an actor/actress when they can evoke a lot of emotion or thoughts with just a gesture or a facial expression. It doesn't have to be a huge emotional scene to make an impact on the audience. The Journalist had a brilliant mix of emotional and stoic moments throughout the drama which I think made a larger impact on the audience than just having explosive and high anxiety scenes the entire drama. The cast really showed off how talented they were with this drama.
THE CINEMATOGRAPHY - Something I always appreciate and notice in dramas is the cinematography and The Journalist was no different. I loved that the cinematography seemed to mimic or show what the characters in the scene were feeling at that moment. The cinematography was an added element to the story telling. It conveyed the emotions that the characters were feeling in that scene or seemed to expand and make those emotions more impactful. For example, if a character was feelings emotions of helplessness or being trapped, the camera would be up close in the character's face and would make the room/scene seem smaller than the room probably was. The cinematography of that scene was making the audience experience that emotion of being trapped themselves by filming the scene that way. Even the color grading of the drama matched the emotions conveyed with a certain scene or character within the scene. It was a lot of fun trying to spot these brilliant moments and decipher what the cinematography was telling in that scene.
CHARACTER PIECE - I will say this once and I will say this again, I love that a lot of Japanese are more than just its main message and story. The Journalist is the same way. Yes, the drama is a political thriller where the main characters are trying to investigate corruption and bring down the officials responsible. It also just portrays aspects of everyday life. The Journalist has many different characters of many ages and backgrounds. It follows these characters through this huge government conspiracy lens but also just shows other facets of their lives and how they go about them. A good example is of this is the story of the character Kinoshita Ryo. Yes, he is affected by the overall mystery, and it affects choices he makes in his life, but this drama just shows the hardships of being a college student who is about to graduate and not know what he is going to do with his life. This drama shows him applying to jobs and his interactions with fellow students. By writing the drama this way, I think this allows the audience to connect with the characters more and have more of an emotional connection to them. We care about these characters and what happens to them. I loved watching these little windows that we got into these characters personal lives that were outside of this overall mystery that we had going on in the story.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
SLOW BURN - Now this is more of an issue with me. As I said above, I watched the trailer and formed expectations of what I was going to get in the drama. When I started the drama, it was a slower burn in the beginning than I was expecting so it took be a lot longer to get into the story. I think if I had not clicked play on this drama with an assumption, this would not have bothered me as much. If slow burns are not your thing, then this drama might not be for you. Even if it is a slow burn though, I will still recommend it because it is worth it.
LITTLE HARD TO FOLLOW AT TIMES - There are a lot of names, especially with the political officials, that it was admittedly hard to keep everyone straight. Especially if the names were just brought up in conversation and there was no face to put the name because that person was not in the scene. The story sometimes also used news broadcasts to push the story forward, so it was sometimes hard to keep those straight. You just have to pay attention to this drama as you watch, or you will get easily confused. Again, this may have just been me. I had difficulty keeping these aspects of the drama straight sometimes, especially in the beginning of the drama.
POSSIBLE SECOND SEASON - Now if second seasons aren't your thing, that might keep you from watching this drama. The Journalist didn't end on life a cliffhanger or anything like that. There is potential for a second season. If there never is a second season, the ending was satisfactory as well. This just depends on your opinion of second seasons and if you watch The Journalist, your opinion on how this drama ended.
Rating: 8.5/10 (Streaming on NETFLIX now)
Have you seen The Journalist?
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