|2015 South Korea The Treacherous|
I don't think this one plays in the same ballpark as other supposedly sexy or provocative period pieces. It's more campy/kitschy. It wasn't trying to be titillating. It went way past that. And I think the film would have failed if the concubine was played by any less of a talent than Lee Yoo-Young. I didn't realize until the end that she was also narrating the story. Her movements from speaking to singing were brilliantly executed, and added to the film's strongest aspect: its physical rhythm. She's a new actress and I think she has a bright future. She exuded strength and charisma. Time will tell. Lim Ji-Yeon as the butcher girl is also new, and was one of the film's weak points. She seems like one of those young actresses trying to climb the ladder of fame by doing nude scenes. She did look good working with the sword. She's probably also a trained dancer.
There weren't just a couple scenes in this film where if you described them to someone (such as 'A woman fellates a ceramic horse's dong') it would make the film an immediate non-starter. There were a couple dozen of them. A couple dozen WTF scenes. And I think almost all of them worked. There were very few moments in the film where I was embarrassed for the actors. Again, Lee Yoo-Young's presence went a long way in protecting the film from being cheap.
In the end (or rather from the beginning up until the end) this film did what I have come to enjoy about Korean films. The "No! Don't shoot ... Hey! Great shot" factor. But more along the lines of "No, you're not going to ... you didn't ... Hmmm, nice job".
I saw this available on the web when it first came out and didn't even add it to my wish list because most of the titillating period pieces from Korea I've seen were kind of bad.
Summary: Prince Yeonsan (Kim Kang-Woo) becomes engulfed with insanity as he kills those responsible for his mother's death. He appoints his longtime friend Im Soong-Jae (Ju Ji-Hoon) and his father to the position of retainer. They are then ordered to round up beautiful women from all parts of the country to pleasure Prince Yeonsan. Women are taken regardless of their marriage status or social class, which causes widespread anger.
Dan-Hee (Lim Ji-Yeon) is a beautiful woman, but she is a butcher from the lowest class. She saves Im Soong-Jae from danger and then begs him to take her to the palace. Im Soong-Jae refuses for his own personal reasons.
Nevertheless, Dan-Hee soon enters the palace. Im Soong-Jae becomes conflicted and the Prince lusts after the beautiful Dan-Hee.