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Well made and acted despite lack of drama or tension
Imagine a movie that tells how an alphabet was invented. Very little drama, no real conflict, many scenes showing how the sounds were turned into letters. Fascinating and beautiful, but definitely not for those seeking action.
The acting is excellent throughout. Kang-ho Song in one of his quietest most introspective roles. Hae-il Park as the impetuous monk, and specially Mi-seon Jeon as the queen, who dominates every scene she appears in and leaves a strong influence on the film even when she is absent. This was her last role, before her death, and the movie can be seen as a tribute to this great actress too.
There are many fascinating scenes, in particular those showing the creation of the new script. The cinematography is excellent, the scenery beautiful and the director keeps things interesting, despite the lack of a strong story. Still, it gets long at the end, as there is very little tension and despite a few courtly conflicts, very little drama. The movie is also too respectful of the king's figure, at the end it gets a bit long and the scenes a little repetitive.
I may have missed a few details, as i don't speak and cannot read Korean. Some jokes and many references probably eluded me. Still, it's an interesting and sometimes fascinating movie for those who do not mind the lack of action. A good change of pace from the fight-filled historical typically produced in Seaoul.
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