Liar Game takes the viewers on a roller coaster ride by offering continuous thrills and chills. It succeeds as a taut, intelligent thriller where nothing sticks out a mile. The drama is remake of a Japanese manga series of the same name and blends the original material with K-drama ingredients to have a flavour of its own.
The show is basically about a game show that promises a huge cash price for the winner who has to undergo various stages that are mired with lies and deception. Nam Da Jung is a naive, kind-hearted girl who gets involved in this game in order to pay off her father’s debts. Do young is the host and producer while Woo Jin is an ex-psychiatry professor-turned-con man who helps Da Jung in her quest to win the game. But there is a lot more at stake here than meets the eye.
There is an unmistakable feel of uneasiness and eeriness as the contestants are brought together to play the games one by one. You are constantly speculating what’s going to happen next and certain scenes that inform us about past events make you shift in the seats. It’s great to see the different ways in which our hero gets past each round by using his grey cells. One of the good things about the show is that it explains each and every round very clearly and in detail. Plus, even if you don’t get it completely, the adventurous feeling does not go away as things proceed. We always understand the basic things going on in the game and why. There is a nicely textured story here which doesn’t rely on last-minute shenanigans shoehorned to make things twisty. Everything that happens at any point of time relates to one thing or the other that occurred before. The narrative polish is there which wraps up the whole story in 12 episodes. Of course, having a source material helps.
Liar Game etches out each character with care and we are able to distinguish everyone of them with their own personality traits, even the players that take part in the game show, which could have been a shallow or incomplete information in other dramas. The drama combines compelling story with some warm moments. Especially I loved the arc with Da Jung and her kind debt collector Dal-goo, who constantly helps her and Woo Jin selflessly in their journey. Finding such a debt collector in dramaland is as difficult as to grasp a shadow.
I appreciate that the drama takes its viewers as intelligent people and throws in some complexity in the narrative as well as characters. Do Young is one of the best villains of dramaverse. We can never guess what is going on in his mind and there are many moments where you feel afraid of even a minute expression on his face. And even then in the end, you somehow feel sorry for him. Woo Jin has a great combination of heart and brains. He is not very outward in showing his feelings but his every move shows that he cares so much for everyone. I simply loved the way he played the game and came up with logical solutions by exercising his mind. These two leads have great confrontations together. I admit that Da Jung comes off as overly naive and trusting but then she is also the only beacon of trust and goodness among everyone, who also changes others’ hearts and that is something I can respect. Plus, she showed more confidence in latter half of the series. Among the contestants, I especially liked Jamie’s arc as she experienced maximum growth throughout the series.
I was shipping our leads so much but the show only teased us with romance angle. Da Jung was perfect for him as she brought much-needed sweetness and charm in Woo Jin’s serious life. I think it’s more than safe to say that the drama can come up with a season 2 as there are still many questions unanswered even if we do get a clearer picture in the end.
Liar Game is powered by excellent performances across the board, right from the main players to the supporting cast. Shin Sung Rok has an arresting screen presence and brilliantly plays the complex character of Do Young. Lee Sang Yoon has never looked hotter and gets lots of moments to show off his brooding intensity. Kim So Eun is also well cast for the role and has a cute performance. Jo Jae Yoon is endearing as Da Goo and Lee El as Jamie also gives a powerful performance.
Overall, Liar Game is a great drama experience that shouldn’t be missed.
My Rating: 9 out of 10