Director’s insights into The Worst of Evil, a gripping crime thriller

THE Worst of Evil is a gripping crime thriller set in the 1990s Gangnam district, where volatile police officer Park Junmo goes undercover to dismantle a dangerous drug gang led by the shrewd Jung Gicheul. The gang, dealing in a new drug called “Gangnam Crystal”, tightens its grip on the city, blurring the lines between right and wrong for Junmo, who must choose between his mission and his wife.

The series features outstanding performances by Ji Changwook in a dual role as Junmo and gang member Kwon Seung-ho, as well as Wi Hajun as the Machiavellian leader Gicheul. As the intricate plot unfolds, relationships and emotions take centre stage, challenging the characters’ notions of justice and morality.

In a written interview with director Han Dong-wook, he reveals that his primary concern was capturing the subtle emotional arcs of each character in this character-driven series. He aimed to explore the concept of justice beyond the conventional boundaries of good and evil without disrupting the narrative flow.

$!Ji Changwook returns as Junmo in The Worst of Evil.

To create the unique mood and atmosphere of the series, Han and his team used saturated colours, neon signage, and dramatic imagery, balancing boldness with storytelling. He describes The Worst of Evil as a bittersweet story that reflects on the challenges of life and the pursuit of decency in a troubled world.

One notable aspect of the series is the intense and impactful scene at the start of each episode, followed by the title card. Han explains that this format was chosen to engage viewers immediately and avoid the repetitiveness of traditional title sequences.

The changes in Junmo and Euijeong’s relationship, as Junmo transforms undercover, were portrayed as a gradual erosion of trust rather than a single breaking point.

The parallel between Junmo and Gicheul, despite their different paths, is another intriguing aspect. Han wanted to blur the lines between their characters throughout the series, emphasising that both chose dangerous lives for the sake of love. The dynamic between Gicheul and Euijeong, where feelings sway in complex ways, adds depth to the narrative.

$!Hajun portrays as a gang leader torn between immeasurable success and the innocence of his past.

Despite the impressive action sequences, Han’s priority was to capture the characters’ emotions rather than focusing solely on technical skills. He aimed to convey Junmo’s mental struggle and stress as an undercover cop through raw and authentic fight scenes. Finally, Han shared that the various characters in the Gangnam gang are derived from Gicheul, allowing Junmo to confront each of them on his path to confronting the gang leader while maintaining Gicheul’s authority.

In The Worst of Evil, director Han Dongwook has crafted a character-driven crime thriller that delves into the complex emotions and relationships of its flawed characters, offering a unique perspective on justice and morality in a world where right and wrong often blur.

The Worst of Evil is available to watch on Disney+ (Hotstar).

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