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Masquerade (2012)
"Gwanghae, Wangyidoen namja" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History  |  13 September 2012 (South Korea)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 2,893 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 30 critic

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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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Ha-seon / King Gwang-hae
...
Heo Gyun (as Ryu Seung-Ryong)
Hyo-ju Han ...
Queen
In-kwon Kim ...
Do
Gwang Jang ...
Eunuch
...
Sa-wol
Myung-gon Kim ...
Park Choong-seo
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yong-gu Do ...
Minister of National Defense
Lee El ...
Ahn Gae-Shi
Soo-ho Ha ...
General Jung Jeon
Sung-Yong Han ...
Public Officer Who Escorts Ha-Sun
Bae-Su Jeon ...
Minister of Justice
Sung-hee Jo ...
Prince Gwanghae's Public Officer 2
Kim Jong-Goo ...
King Gwanghae's Physician
Young-Ho Joo ...
Public Officer 1 Who Escorts King Gwanghae
Edit

Storyline

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 CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The kingdom in the hand of a layman for 15 days. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 2012 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Masquerade  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$1,839 (USA) (7 December 2012)

Gross:

$898,826 (USA) (7 December 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Woo-Suk Kang was originally set to direct, but due to trouble in production's development, Kang dropped out of project and Chang-min Choo on board to helm this film instead. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A solid Korean period drama!
23 September 2013 | by (Cairo, Egypt) – See all my reviews

Last year's South Korean box office champion (a No. 3 all-time grossing picture in the history of Korean cinema), this period drama stars Byung-hun Lee for a meaty dual role, the king and his doppelgänger scoundrel, intricately chronicles a spell of 15 days' clandestine regency under the helm of the said doppelgänger.

A grandeur of a period drama pivots heavily on its art design, set decoration, makeup and costumes whether or not can conjure a believable world of that time, as a result MASQUERADE is impeccable in all these aspects. Despite basically it is an interior chamber piece, a few outdoor shots meticulously dispense us legitimate solemnity and natural quaintness.

The outline of the story is quite straightforward, and all the ramifications are predictable, the transformation from a good-to-nothing to a righteous and gallant role model is the unflagging keynote, director Chang-min Choo interposes effectual gags in-between the brooding atmosphere, first time we saw a king breaks wind on screen and his eye-opening defecation formalities, which is gross at first glance, but the comical reaction is pure golden! (Hollywood should learn how to turn repellent vulgarity into some genuine laughter from it).

Finally Lee scoops up his representative work on big screen which could testify his talent beyond the awful exploitation of his taciturn Asian fighter figure in Hollywood action potboilers. Acting with his mother tongue, the constant changeover of manners and tones is a demanding task, he successfully nail both the imperial majesty and the antic street-smartness. What is more touching is among the set pieces where the expendable side characters face their doom, Lee's reactive performances are wonderfully empathetic, effectively efface the cliché and sappy default of a thin plot. Seung-yong Ryoo (the helping hand), Hyo-ju Han (the queen) and Gwang Jang (the eunuch) all offer a bit subtler presence pertains to their different functions.

There is an elephant in the room since everyone knows the impostor cannot be spared at any rate, so the film cunningly contrives a twist to lift the culmination which we cannot say is a mind-blowing one, at least it is a tenable one. Overall, the film is slightly over-stretching its sentimentality but nevertheless stands for a universal crowd-pleaser and a top-notcher of South Korean film industry.


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