Pachinko Review: Generational chronicle spearheaded by Youn Yuh Jung & Kim Min Ha is Lee Min Ho’s career best

Apple TV+’s ‘Pachinko’ also stars Jin Ha, Anna Sawai & more.

Updated on Mar 25, 2022   |  10:24 AM IST  |  146K
'Pachinko' poster: courtesy of Apple TV+

1915, Yeongdo- a little girl is born to doting parents. Unfortunately, love doesn’t run the world- money does. And thus begins the tale of Sunja through her three stages in life- childhood, adulthood and old age, played respectively by Jeon Yu Na, Kim Min Ha and Youn Yuh Jung. One cannot pin what it is exactly about the three that ties them to each other, but the grit in their eyes does not go unnoticed.

The plight of a family that goes through generational poverty finally seems to triumph over misery in their fourth generation when Baek Soloman, played by the trailblazing Jin Ha, unfurls his wings in America, catapults into wealth in Japan and rests his heart in a place unknown to him- South Korea. Painted over eight parts, they each leave you with different emotions.

Pachinko’ dissects how war is hard on everyone but especially the poor as they are pulled through the mud and tugged from every end. Envisioned through the lives of initially a family of 3 that finds shelter by the river after getting their land stolen in hopes that the sea will save them, it builds pace through the successors that note very different livelihoods.

Lee Min Ho casts his spell yet again as he embodies Koh Hansu in many ways. A whirlwind romance with a teen from his homeland, he finds roots under the guise of a member of yakuza (a criminal organization) as his charm spreads with ease through every emotion- after all who else can play rich boy better than the Hallyu superstar. His arrogance however comes laced with a vengeance this time- one directed at the ways of human existence as he files his rags to riches story under relentless hard work.

In all this, the presence of the titular game is significant as the machine becomes the medium of generational connection. The scenes of ‘Pachinko’ seamlessly travel through time as if it's only natural that the old Sunja is the very reflection of the suffering she dealt with as her younger self. She stands above her resonance of a character so well built, one cannot help but applaud the story by Min Jin Lee, here helmed by Soo Hugh.

Now, turned to a district in Busan, South Korea, not much has changed since for Yeongdo and yet everything is new. If you imagine Solomon in today’s time, though a fictional character, we think he would stay firm on his choices. Fondly remembering Sunja and honoring her sacrifices.

Pachinko’ sings, it falls, it dreams and it trembles, but most of all, it survives through its stories and its people.

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ALSO READ: Pachinko: 5 things to know before watching the Lee Min Ho, Youn Yuh Jung & Kim Min Ha starrer

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