Untold Scandal (2003)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Erotic Drama, Period Film, Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 15, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 124 min.  |   Countries - Korea, South   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

The world hardly needed another version of Dangerous Liaisons. The story is excessively familiar by now in all its cynical, darkly amusing twists and turns. But gifted writer/director E J-Yong still manages to make the material engaging. Setting the film during the Chosun Dynasty and filling the screen with elegantly composed images and vibrant colors gives the story a fresh jolt that makes it worthwhile. No one in the cast stands out as much as the director's startling palette (as captured by cinematographer Kim Byeong-il, who shot Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), but they are all attractive and convincingly charismatic. The film also benefits from its effectively playful eroticism. The lavishly vibrant set and costume design, all exquisitely captured to the point of sensory overload, is enjoyable but anachronistic, as the strict Confucian teachings of the time allowed for a more limited color scheme. E J-Yong's use of European baroque music also creates a bit of dissonance, which it seems the filmmaker intended. All this adds up to a reasonably entertaining film, but the familiarity of the story saps it of emotional and thematic resonance.