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Lee Jeok-yo is a 70ish year old man who is a respected poet. He cares fondly for his 30ish year old disciple Seo Ji-woo. The world of these two men are shaken when 17-year-old high school ... See full summary »
Based on the novel 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses,' this film is set in aristocratic 18th-century Korea at the end of the Chosun Dynasty. The irresistible temptress Lady Cho asks her cad of a younger cousin, Jo-won, to deflower the innocent young Soh-ok, who is to become her husband's concubine. But, his attentions soon shift to the graceful and aloof Lady Sook, who lives according to her convictions as a Catholic. Jo-won becomes obsessed with seducing this chaste woman who has remained celibate for nine years since her husband's death. However, conquering the most virtuous woman in the land proves to be more difficult than Chosun's notorious playboy expects.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I believe this is the best version of 'Dangerous Liaisons' yet filmed.
Going in, I expected nothing from this movie, as it had to compare with the other three versions of the story I have seen: The classic Dangerous Liaisons (Close/Malkovich/Pfeiffer), the more entertaining but less memorable Valmont (Bening/Firth/Tilly) and the worthy but inferior Cruel Intentions.
However, this Korean version was so stunningly well-produced in every way that it has to be pronounced the superior version of all. The cast was attractive and skillful, the sets and production values were so slick and artful that "perfection" is the only word that comes to mind. The story was thoroughly captivating from beginning to end, and I was moved to tears on several occasions, esp. of course towards the end.
I find that the story is becoming a classic and a favorite of mine (and I intend to move on to the original book very soon). It is about the wages of cynicism; a tragedy where the wicked are justly punished by experiencing on their own bodies and souls the effects of their ruthless actions. It shows how people's actions have consequences, and how those consequences will eventually come full circle, to slap the perpetrators in the face. It is a movie about human nature, saying that cynicism goes against our nature and can destroy us all if running unchecked. A morality tale. A good and true one. A Classic.
My rating: 9 out of 10.
(P.S. Yes, of course Jo-Won *let* that guy stab him in the back. He was killed by his own conscience.)
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