Bimilui Soop (TV Series 2017– ) Poster

(2017– )

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Charged, Exciting and Gratifying
akritisingh0229 July 2017
Rarely do some creative content come that deliver a truly gratifying experience and I wouldn't be wrong to say that Stranger/Forest of Secrets is part of that consortium.

Writing/Cinematography/Editing: These three form a fragile pyramid that some dramas aren't able to fully comprehend and implement but Stranger isn't like that. The composition of the above three is such that the story progresses seamlessly. The only thing abrupt would be your own heartbeat, ha ha. The screenplay pools you in, like a magnet, from the first episode itself, binding you inside its sly labyrinth of deft writing.

Characters: aren't fictitious, and by that I mean the characters are portrayed in such a crude fashion wherein you wouldn't fully like or dislike either one, they are in a sense, truly human like and not far-fetched. They all have their faults and strengths, they're not necessarily bad or good. I'm not saying you won't form favorites, of course, we all love our protagonist Hwang Si-mog, he is someone who's so elemental, you can't forget him. Every actor has traveled so deep into their characters, watching their work unfold is really engaging. Personally, after first seeing Jo Seung-woo in Inside Men, I have grown such a liking to him, I can't explain. He's just brilliant.

Music: the composition is such that it is subtle yet striking at the same time, complementing the arrangement of scenes in the drama in an aesthetically satisfying manner. The music sets the mood so perfectly, it really is pleasurable.

I have never written reviews about a drama/film/song and whatnot before but upon completion of this Drama, I felt compelled to say a little, at least something about it. I want more and more people to appreciate what has been given to us in the form of this Drama. A political, psychological, legal thriller that is bound to be memorable. Needless to say, Stranger has now become my utmost favorite Korean-drama I have ever watched. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT HESITATE TO WATCH THIS. I wanted to write an essay on this but I guess I'll stick to a precis, I hope my words were enough to impel you to start watching this.

Lastly, be prepared to question morals, motives, ethics and torment your brain contemplating what will get thrown at you in the next episode, brace for heart-wrenching, nerve-racking moments, because this drama will, most certainly, take you on a ride, you won't forget. Enjoy!

My rating: 9.5 out of 10.
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Best Korean TV Drama in Years
Windsun3329 July 2017
I have to confess that I am a k-drama addict, but that said, this is by far one of the best Korean TV dramas ever - surpassing not just the usual run of Asian dramas, but also most US TV dramas.

This show is from a new writer, her first TV script. I think it will not her last. The main star for me is Bae Doona, who I first came across in "Sense 8". The show is absent many of the far too common k-drama tropes that make so many of them seem rather silly - like dozens of totally incompetent cops, the stupid sidekick that is supposed to be funny but seldom is, and several others. A very tightly written script with almost no "WTF?" moments.
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Two honest and passionate people, a prosecutor and a cop, take the burden to untangle an apparently impossible network of corruption and crime
eleantonelli21 September 2017
The story and characters were absolutely amazing!!! Shi Mok Hwang and Yeo Jin Han have soon become among my favourite characters ever and I already miss them. I really hope there will be a follow up of their story. The series is a great chance to understand Korean culture and it can compete with the best series around the world. The whole plot and reconstruction is very realistic and all the cast is superb, all characters very detailed and true, it's one of the best series/movie I ever seen. It gives addiction! I look forward Shi Mok to come back to Seoul and to lieutenant Han!
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Best Korean drama in years!
itanastanojkovic4 October 2017
I have more than hope for all the best in the future for the writer of this drama! My favorite was Bae Doona, but that is a personal reference, all of the acting cast did splendidly, they delivered their roles magnificently and the script was majestic! I watch at least 3 k-dramas per month, and this is... one of the best, if not the best drama I've seen so far! I kept wondering throughout the series if the script was made by a Korean person, because it lacks all of the washed out clichés, the story is excellently thought through, characters are deep and the point itself explores the corruption, and the bad deeds done by very influential people who occupy high places within a country. Forest of Secrets set a new bar for dramas, and I really hope we'll get the chance to see something else from the author soon!
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Noodles served with corruption
thespookybuz5 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Just finished this superb Korean drama in a three-day binge. There are many things to review to be fair, but I'll be brief...

The overall story regards mass political and corporate corruption, cover-ups and backstabbing. However, the story opens with something less subtle: murder.

But it is how this initial murder then spirals into a plethora of lies, greed and downright nastiness that is absorbing to watch. The plot is never still, but not rushed. The characters are always fleshed out, but most have something to hide. The cinematography is on point but seductive. And the music... wow, it is brilliant (even though parts of the main theme reminded me of The Da Vinci Code bizarrely).

What we have here is not explosions and car chases. I found it to be character- and plot-driven brilliance with some fantastic acting. Enjoy the story, enjoy the twists, enjoy the red herrings. And enjoy the soju and noodles!

9 out of 10. Highly recommended.
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One of the very best
Atrey_Doury14 August 2017
I can count on the fingers of my one hand the series that I could consider at par or better than this. On every count it is an absolute winner. I have always believed that a true thriller is more cerebral than physical. The action happens by way of intellectual warfare than actual gunfights and muscled maniacs showing us all kind of choreographed war dances. This series is absolutely such a production, but make no mistake it neither lags nor allows your attention to waiver. Towards the end narrative could have been tighter and it could have gone in another direction. But perhaps that just comes down to personal preferences and cultural perspectives. All in all a highly recommended thriller and hands - down a shoo - in to my personal all time favourites. Kudos to the production team as well as the actors.

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Fast-paced suspense drama with excellent music
prashanth-256698 July 2017
The poster of this show caught my eye on Netflix as it had Doona Bae in it. Excellent story-telling techniques combined with the background score makes it a must-watch show, even if you do not understand the language (Netflix has excellent subtitles for this).

The plot is intriguing and unpredictable. The only other show I've watched which is comparable to this one is Death Note, which was an anime.
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The Key of Success
dumsumdumfai31 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I am still 1/2 an episode away from the ending of the show, yet I'm lamenting, savouring the demise of this very, very good show.

No, the show is not perfect, but darn close. Here, I will neither lead off nor delve into what I see are the minor short comings but instead try to elaborate on the secret of this show's success.

The story revolves around how a prosecutor unearths the details and convoluted dealings that is behind an initial murder of a shady character.

One of the key element of the story is that this prosecutor has a unique physical (and thus related emotional) flaw. This flaw allows him to be almost devoid of emotions, but brilliant (almost to a fault) at deductive reasoning, theories correlation, and stone-cold, unrelenting, unapologetic, and unflinching resolve. This character flaw also provide the storyline with one of the most explosive yet unusual, non- action based climax (1 of 2 near the ending). For this, the audience is the scapegoat in soaking up all the tension in between. This character trait, I believe is absolutely necessary, to serve both the seriousness of the subject matter, and the 'burden' of the plot.

This leads to another great component of the show and that is the overall tone. The constant pressure, mystery, event after event (constructed in great detail) that unfolds seemingly backs the 'good' guys into a tight corner. All this done in a serious, nonchalant, no extra fat, point to point, manner. While there is only just a small, right amount,of understated comic relief. This goes against most other formulaic Korean detective show of over the top funny characters.

A third key of success is the balance of characters. The balance of the female lead oppose to the male lead. Officer Han is just as tough, physically and mentally, has a sense of justice that pairs along with a sense of doubt. This does not mean she is weaker in any sense, but instead more human. A fine touch is how she likes to sketch and scribbles with a pencil. Also must be noted is subtle variation of characters in both the prosecution and police staff. The writing provides its characters with varying level of moral, ethical, and conscientious standards. Some people change, some don't.

Other elements that are not so common in K dramas. No clearly stated development of romantic relationships for the main leads. No prolong, repetition of pop-song heavy based, unnecessary flashbacks. No over sentimental gratuitous tug of the heart strings. No over stylized cinematography. No must see next episode ending to every episode. And there is no over the top, fantastic human feats, or earth shattering twist of the plot.

Lastly, but to a lesser extend is the reduced dependence on dialogue. But instead through use the camera angles and movement, specific thoughts and facial expressions of the characters to move the storyline along. This is especially so in the first few episodes. That means some information are not from given through the exchange of dialogue, not a directly feeding of the plot line to the viewer, but instead implied or visually taken care of.

And as the mystery slowly reveal itself, the audience is not taken for a ride but instead is going along for the ride, side by side with the task force. What a pleasure for us the audience to have this quality writing and what eyes for director and producer to trust the strength of this writing, too.
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Not a single Dull Moment
asthab14 February 2018
First of all, I loved the background music - its gripping. It a very well written and executed how, with good story line and acting. You wont know anything until the very end, and keep doubting every character.

Its a decently paced show, and you wont find one boring moment - amidst all revelations, blame games and well, causalities! Also gives you a sneakk peak into the power game in South Korea.

Give it a try if you like suspense thrillers. You wont be disappointed!
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Forest of Secrets / Stranger - Another S. Korean suspense hit!
thegulls130 December 2017
I keep hearing that South Korea is the emerging giant in producing great TV series in a variety of formats: comedy, fantasy, spy-intrigue or (in this case) police-mystery. Mercifully, this one ends after 16 episodes - I say that, since, once you get hooked on these series, nothing else scheduled in your life happens. You are glued to the set as the mystery deepens and unfolds (I watched a 20-parter in 2016, and after 20.9 episodes, the good guy -- on his way with a ring to marry the girl he fell in love with in episode 3-- gets picked off by a sniper. Aaaauuuughhhh!. Meantime, my car was repossessed, and my wife ran off to join the circus. But, what great series!

In this case, 'Stranger' (as named on Netflix) follows the trials of Prosecutors Huo-Jin (Bae Doona, who appears to be the Sandra Bulloch of Korean miniseries) and Huang (Jo Suang-Hoo) as they investigate a few murders and attempted murders of police accomplices and 'ladies-in-waiting' - and, eventually, a pretty young prosecutor, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Huang. Higher-ups seem to be behind the crimes, and the script certainly gives the impression that the Korean culture is dominated by title, authority and political favors on the part of elitists in the Police Force and business. Huang, though, is relentless and strictly business. He has a personality defect that causes a lack of empathy or emotion. So, he shares only what he needs to, and in as few words as possible. I haven't quite finished the series, but I don't expect to see him in a passionate affair with any of the available female characters. He has the charm & appeal of a pack of tin foil--a cross between Spock and Monk. He's smart, though and the higher-ups are terrified he will finally tumble onto their nefarious secrets.

Music and sets are delightful, characters are rich and continually developed, and the cinematography is brilliant and imaginative. New twists unfold every episode, keeping you compelled to keep watching.. 9/10 - Enjoy!
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Complete genius
AnotherMoviePlease2 April 2018
Wow, what a series. I've never seen anything like it. IT IS SO WELL DONE. It is a pity though that IMDB has the title of this as "Forest of Secrets" because Netflix has this as "Stranger". People looking up "Stranger" will find nothing and its a pity because it gets such great reviews.
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Stranger / Secret Forest / Forest of secrets (The Korean Masterpiece)
ad7-979-80875530 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Its very rare that a Korean TV Drama would compel me to write a review in India .This one did. I will try to be brief in my reasons why.. (Kindly bear with me in my Korean names; all based on English translation)

The Plot : Its really not out of the world. South Korea is under the grip of rampant political corruption. This one borrows from that and adds a murder mystery to solve. Add a few twists/ turns and you get a regular pot boiler.

The Cast: The lead Simhok :Stoic , Brilliant Detective Han: Lively , emotional , Humane Chang Jun Lee: The guy who nods his head into your approval Chairman Lee of Hanjo group: The calculative villain Chang Jun Lee's wife: Almost your vamp. A lot of other characters which fill their positions well

Stereotypes: All phones are Samsung , All cars Hyundai LG , Kia motors also exist !!

Korean Life: Asian country like us. Mannerisms , gentle bowing , traditional practices , emotional outbursts blended with a much more adaptation of life in Seoul portrayed with lovely details. Detective Han's place over looked a bridge , brilliant cinematography. Neat , minimalist offices .

Chemistry : The Main highlight of this series. The scenes between protagonist /Chang jun lee/ Chairman Lee are amazing. Special reference to scenes at funeral of Eyun so, Detective Han and son of Mr Park(murdered) , Detective Han and Mr Joon(The murderer) , Mr Joon at his confession ....Brilliant ! , Outstanding !!...The way the photo of Chang Jun Lee falls soon after his suicide. Cinematic Excellence.

Background Score : The music director has created a heart wrenching score with underlying mystery theme. It is so Korean , yet so universal. The crescendo in most scenes as they climax is breathtakingly complemented to say the least.

The Directors: Its always easy to make a story , however it takes a vision to make History. This series will easily go down as one of the best ever made , just because of the vision and Character portrayal.

Loved this show. Hope to see something similar in future!!!

P.S: Can you explain why Korean Won is devalued so much? and why Korean folks speak so little English :)
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Fantastic, One of The best series I have seen in many years
anselmo-pessoal19 April 2018
I could not stop thinking about it for a week after I've finished watching.
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Social Commentary Worth Watching
canspam-19 January 2018
My family are viewers, not a reviewers. Here is our no-spoiler take of "Bimilui Soop" (Forest of Secrets):

As viewers who enjoy the occasional k-drama, but not 'fans' of the genre, we understood Forest of Secrets had to survive in the "k-drama" market. Standard market treatment to avoid alienating the domestic viewer; the standard k-drama outro sting, 16-episode 'season' container, and a few 'over the top' cartoon characters are glaring examples. With that in mind we found the story treatment very good. There was about 3 episodes of eye-crossing back-and-forth shot in offices and 2 episodes of arcs with too much focus for our taste; maybe to make a 'season.' In total, there was around 2 total composite hours where the story felt like it was dragging. These were choices that might not have been made in this manner if a story of this caliber was told in the West, but again, might be market appropriate. Even the stereotypical cartoon characters were made interesting by the writers, actors and director.

As a personal note: Koreans seem to communicate with less 'hand-holding,' making the translated captions a fast read. Something might be lost in the attempt to capture nuance in captions that only stay on the screen for 3~4 seconds.

My family are tough raters and we still thought "Bimilui Soop" earned between a 7 and 8 for story and 6-7 for shooting. We loved the treatment at the end of the arc, interesting in how it diverted from the expected ending. We'll round up in consideration of rating inflation.
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Season 2
touchskyazhar11 June 2018
I have never such an intense TV show ever, specially Korean.

I really wish they come with a new season soon.
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Raho7712 December 2018
This is the first time that I've seen a Korean tv-Serie which was a great and memorable crime drama.

It's about a prosecutor and a policewoman who work together to bring the truth of those with wealth and power into the light.

The script was well written. The cast is very good. The emotionless main character was performed by Cho Seung-Woo as a prosecutor who is a very talented actor. Doona Bae suits her role perfect as a policewomen.
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aisjs14 October 2018
I am new to KDramas thanks to Netflix and am thrilled with the quality of (some) of them. I watched this because I was impressed with Seung-woo Cho in Life (Laipeau), where he (along with Lee Dong Wook and everyone else) was superb. I also know Doona Bae from Sense8. Its an excellent series, complex and gripping, and full of twists and turns which keep things interesting. The two leads work really well together, her warmth and humanity versus his aloofness. Brilliant characterisations and the same excellent acting I am beginning to see across many Kdramas ( in truth, the same actors too, as there seems to be a pool of actors reused across many series! - and why not, they are great). Nail-biting finish, which is an achievement after 16 long episodes. If you like serious intelligent crime series with good detective work and no silliness (which Kdramas tend towards), then this is for you. And theres lovely subtle humour too, stemming from the interaction between the two leads, who couldn't be more different.
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Very good but one question
ninjatushar30 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers

I have to say I've watched every popular tv show, movie and anime and none have impressed me except one or two exceptions, but even they were stretched out pointlessly just to make money. It seemed like the emphasis on writing was not there. The writing is just flat out lazy and the plot is too simple and repetitive. I had to find a good show but I didn't know where to look. I have looked at all kinds of shows but I just couldn't get behind a story driven to make the main characters win through plot armour.

Then Netflix recommended me Bad Guys Vile City and that was the first time in my life where I had been genuinely excited by the plot and story. Characters, good or bad would act exactly how you would expect them to act, not being lead on by plot armour. The ambitions and goals of the characters were very apparent and they had a clear and concise reason for doing things. Each characters strengths and weaknesses were expressed in a very intricate way. However season one didn't quite hit me in the same way so I started looking for new shows.

After watching the best show in my life, I started looking at Korean TV series to get something similar. This show that I found straight after watching that gave me the same impression as I got from Bad Guys Vile City. The characters are detailed and rich, the plot is complex and there is no emphasis on plot armour, instead the story just flows exactly the way you would think it would, making the series very immersive. Unlike Bad Guys Vile City, this has taken the approach of using evidence and information to compile a list of evidence to find a suspect, while in Bad Guys, brute force and fighting is used to catch a suspect that is known. Both have it's merits but I feel like the story in this show can feel a bit monotonous and drawn out sometimes, especially new evidence is not coming to help find the suspect. However it is made up by constantly keeping you guessing who the suspect is.

The characters I also don't find very interesting in this show, like I did in Bad Guys Vile City, except for Si-Mok, who is the single best character I've ever seen(helped by the brilliant acting). The lack of emotion and sympathy really keeps the show going, and he investigates everyone fairly and sharply no matter who they are. It's hard to explain why I like this character so much, but it's the character that fits perfectly in a detective series like this. He does not get clouded by emotion or other people's emotion, he's just there with a clear goal in mind, to catch the suspect, and he does it without any drama.


Alright now that I have listed all the positives, I have to say, this has not taken the top spot in my best tv show/movie/anime list and here's why. The scenes can seem very drawn out at times and you can't help but want it to move on.

Some characters act very out of the ordinary, seemingly to list them as a suspect. For example, it still isn't explained why Prosecutor Seo ran after Ga-Young that exact night, what exactly was he trying to achieve? Then why he went through so much trouble to get to her phone and delete contact with her when it makes him look like the killer. Especially when Ga-Young was still alive and could easily reveal him, and then he goes to the hospital expecting him to not remember him? Then you also find out that who you've been guessing is the killer all this time, is not in-fact the killer. But the reason you don't know the killers identity is not because you misjudged a character, but simply because you didn't know enough about the killer in the first place and then you realise that all the evidence you had got up to that point was completely useless. The only piece of evidence that found the killer, was the tattoo and that is the only piece of evidence that was needed so it felt like the entire ordeal of finding evidence was just a waste of time as it achieved nothing for this case. It felt like they were making it too obvious that someone that Si-mok was investigating, or someone connected, but just hiding it all this time, but no a killer was just there the entire time and all the evidence and motive just dropped in all at once so you never even had time to guess it was him. It also doesn't make sense why he didn't kill Ga-Young. Ok, maybe he didn't think she saw the tattoo but there was literally no reason to keep her alive. Maybe she did see some of his features or maybe she saw what clothes he was wearing or maybe she recognises where he kept her, and there may be forensic evidence there.

In any case though, enjoyed the show and I look forward to seeing more like this.
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Absolutely thrilling start to my K drama exploration
Punter_Hunter29 August 2018
It chronicles the journey of a prosecutor without empathy and not much liked in his department along with an emotional female police officer in solving a murder case which involves taking on the corrupt system and their own corrupt departments.

It is so well written that it makes us doubt every one at one point of time or other so much that i had doubts even about the lead actor-Hwang Shi Mok at few occasions . This, i think is the biggest plus point for any suspense series or movie. The background music completely suits and lifts the series at important junctions which again plays an important role in any thriller. Last few episodes makes you emotional as well despite at initial stages(episodes) it seemed that there wont be much emotional connect.

This is my First Korean drama ,and though i had little difficulty in remembering names when i started but its so well paced with characters coming in at just perfect time that the characters and the story keep seeping in very well. Though as i said it makes us doubt almost every character but my gut feeling about 2 important events or happenings that take place in last few episodes was bang on . Suspense is actually good but what i liked the most is the flow of story and how events unfolds that keeps us hooked.

Performance from everyone was really good and i mean everyone . My favorites are Hwang Shi-Mok(played by Seung-woo Cho) and Lee Chang-Joon (played by Jae-myung Yoo).

I am neither a K drama addict nor TV series addict but more of a movie lover but still it kept me hooked . This was recommended by a good friend of mine and i would recommend it to anyone who loves watching stories that are riveting thrilling and sucks one in . Its a MUST WATCH TV series
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K-Drama Crime
polsixe12 February 2018
A deeply layered crime procedural in the K-drama style. Hwang Shi-mok is a brilliant but emotionally crippled prosecutor in the Western Seoul District. A gangster is murdered then the trail starts to lead to joy girls and higher ups, maybe his boss, co-workers, the cops, government officials? Everyone has a story or two and could be a suspect, slowly, too slowly but K-Drama right? the evidence is uncovered, corruption goes high. Some twists and turns, a cliffhager of sorts each episode; a lot of short convos in office settings, similar to the Joseon era costume dramas. Similar to the palace roman-a-clefs these stories need a schemer; full of furtive looks, quick excuses and plotting. Joon-hyeok Lee gets the thankless task here as Seo Dong-Jae; his character becomes more than wearisome by Ep 8, all "drats foiled again" facial tics. The rest are fine pros also, Seung-woo Cho as the lead has to play it straight, Doona Bae is a perky cop.
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An ad series in 16 episodes
kseistrup30 August 2017
While I thoroughly enjoyed this series, I have come to the conclusion that in reality the series is a giant ad in 16 episodes for Samsung's newest phones: You simply get a walk-through of all the killer features of the Samsung Edge family. The crime story simply sets the stage on which the ad takes place. Nothing more, nothing less. Still very enjoyable, though.
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A very neatly packaged empty box
simonbaribeau7 April 2018
I'll start from the end : i dropped this show 2 episodes from the end.

The series is well acted, looks polished, has a great soundtrack. Early on you think that it has substance, that it's going to spin a web of issues and then tie them up at the end.

But the longer you watch, the more you realize that there is nothing here. This sorry excuse of a "story" is so vapid, usual, unimaginative. There's no surprises, no twists, no depth. If you watch a single episode of Columbo, you would get a similar plot complexity, however it would be resolved in 2 hours instead of 20. With what does Stranger fill the gap? Frankly i don't even remember. Most of the time my attention was taken to another activity because NOTHING HAPPENS.

And then there is nothing else. Flat, unlovable two dimensional characters. No humor, no personal growth, no emotions, good or bad, barely any cute girls. Just your typical rich dudes doing misdeeds and your typical cops extremely slowly solving the case.

Don't waste your time like I wasted mine.
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