Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councilor Heo Kyun to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect ... See full summary »
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Two brothers, Ho-jin and Dae-jin, were the only family they had. The older brother Ho-jin married Eun-soo, extending their family to three, and they all lived happy, tranquil days together.... See full summary »
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Hyunjun and Sawoo, close friends and rivals from the South Korean special forces, are recruited by the secret agency NSS. They both fall for Seunghee, the beautiful but lethal profiling ... See full summary »
Seung Hyun Choi,
Gang In-ho, who is working to earn money for his daughter's surgery, is appointed to a school for hearing-impaired children in Gwangju. But what he discovers there is an ugly truth: the ... See full summary »
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New high-school transfer student Na-Mi comes from a small town in Jeolla Province to her new school in the capital city of Seoul. When she is nervous, her small town dialect comes out & she... See full summary »
Amid national chaos and fear for his life, tyrannical King Gwanghae orders his trusted councilor Heo Kyun to find a royal body double. He hires Ha-seon, a peasant mimic who bears a perfect resemblance to the King. When King Gwanghae collapses from a mysterious poison, Ha-seon reluctantly becomes a King. He must follow his conscience to save his country from collapse, avoid assassination, and pull off the biggest masquerade in history. K Written by
The idea for Masquerade developed from the true story of missing records totalling 15 days from the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. Knowing that the king was kind, but paranoid, the staff constructed this idea as something that could have happened during that undocumented time. See more »
As has been pointed out by other reviewers, this story is a new spin on "The Prince and the Pauper." It actually reminded me, however, of the American movie "Dave," in that the protagonist is a naive pawn whose empathy allows him to rise to the occasion, including finding love in the chaos.
Byung-hun Lee is simply an amazing actor. Having seen his "dark" side in movies like "A Bittersweet Life" and "I Saw the Devil," I was very pleased to see he could handle the role of Ha-Seon with such a light touch. It was a joy to see him effortlessly shift from hilarious toilet humor to inspiring leader. I was particularly struck with the scenes where he interacted with commoners, in which I really felt the empathy Ha-Seon felt for them.
This is the first of director Chang-min Choo's movies I've seen, and I was impressed at how he was able to seamlessly balance the light and serious scenes in the movies. To often, one or the other seems forced, but here Choo creates a character who grows and changes, but still remains, at heart, the same, good person he was at the beginning -- the kind of person who, by the end of the story, could be happy and believable as a king or a pauper. I think Choo also gave the movie a more intimate feel by focusing on one-on-one conversations and limiting the normal "cast of thousands" you often see in period pieces about kings.
Overall, the acting was top notch -- particularly from Hyo-ju Han as the Queen and Hyo-ju Han as Minister Do -- and the costumes and set design were beautiful.
Masquerade is an engaging and charming period piece with humor, action, and romance.
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