Drama Drama Review

“The Longest Day In Chang’an” – How to do the impossible in 24 hours

What is this drama about?

Year 744 AD, Chang’an, the cosmopolitan heart of the Tang Empire. The emperor’s enemies plan to attack the city during the Lantern Festival. At the same time, there is conflict in the imperial court. The aging emperor will probably announce the transfer of power to the Right Chancellor during the festival and will withdraw from politics to spend time with his young lover. This whole situation is a huge threat to the Crown Prince, who is the only one who sees the need for changes in the way the empire is ruled.

Young intelligence chief Li Bi, a Taoist priest and ally of the crown prince, has only 24 hours to prevent an attack on the world’s largest city. After a failed attempt to capture the spies, Li Bi and his team call for help from death row inmate, war veteran Zhang Xiao Jing.

This drama is a masterpiece! There’s a lot I can write about it, but I’ll try to do it in a relatively short way. What delighted me the most and made me keep watching was the visual side of the drama. The cinematography, costumes and beautiful shots deserve the greatest praise. My eyes experienced the most beautiful moments of happiness looking at these wonderful, noisy streets, especially when Chang’an was bathed in the light of lanterns. It was divine to watch. I don’t remember the last time a drama fascinated me so much. I also appreciate the natural soundtrack (no dubbing), birds singing, the creaking of the floor and the leather on the uniforms. How wonderful!!!!

Well-written characters were a huge advantage of this story. They were not one-dimensional. They had good and bad sides, made good and bad, and sometimes necessary, choices. They were flesh and blood, torn by various ambitions, passions and belief in ideals. Over time, even the least important character contributed to the whole story. If they weren’t there, the whole thing would probably lose its depth. At first, I didn’t really understand what the character of Wen Ran was for. Over time, it turned out that she was the embodiment of the wonderful dreams and ideas that Zhang and Long Bo believed in. They protected them by protecting her.

The whole story was suspenseful until the end. Everything made sense, the plot was well-executed, there was always something happening, layer by layer we discovered the secrets of this city and the political turmoil at the imperial court. There was action, there was sadness, a sense of hopelessness and faith in people. The ending satisfied me. All the actors rose to the challenge. I didn’t find a single weak link. The main roles were brilliantly played, as were the episodic ones. Long Bo is definitely my favorite character. He is an idealist, but very complicated, both good and bad, crazy and intelligent, focused on the task and goal. He was amazing! I saw most of the actors for the first time, but I already know it won’t be the last.

The entire production of the drama is a gem like no other. Visually, musically, and historically – everything at the highest level. China developed incredibly during the Tang dynasty and it can be seen in this story. Apparently every detail was faithfully reproduced from this era, giving us a wonderful journey about ancient Chang’an. If anyone is interested in Chinese history, I highly recommend this drama. Here you can see how time was measured in the past or how paper was made.

I wondered how they would cram 48 episodes (40 min each) with 24 hours of action. They did it masterfully! I highly, highly recommend it!

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