Untold Scandal

2003 [KOREAN]

Action / Drama

10
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 87% · 30 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 68% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.8/10 10 2710 2.7K

Director

Top cast

Do-yeon Jeon as Lady Jeong
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.12 GB
1280*720
Korean 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  id  kr  ms  th  vi  cn  
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
Seeds 1
2.3 GB
1920*1080
Korean 5.1
NR
Subtitles us  id  kr  ms  th  vi  cn  
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
Seeds 8
1.12 GB
1280*714
Korean 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  id  kr  ms  th  vi  cn  
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
Seeds 1
2.07 GB
1920*1072
Korean 2.0
NR
Subtitles us  id  kr  ms  th  vi  cn  
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
Seeds 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by refresh_daemon 8 / 10

A story about beauty and vice

This film is an interesting one. The story is adapted from the French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liasans). It's an 18th (maybe 17th?)century French novel of intrigue and scandal and the movie is set in... 18th century Korea, during the Chosun period. If you've seen Dangerous Liasans or a modern-day adaptation, Cruel Intentions, you've basically got the plot down. Male womanizer and scheming female near relative make a bet that womanizer can't seduce a pure woman. And stuff goes crazy from there.

So I decided to watch this film because it was a massive box-office opener in Korea, beating out all of its competition at the time. A few things that I noticed: 1) I like watching Korean period films, especially those of older Korea because the costumes and set design tend to be very aesthetically pleasing. The art direction is beautiful.

2) The acting was actually quite impressive--certainly better than Cruel Intentions, which is the only other version of this film that I've seen.

3) There are a few graphic sex scenes (and many suggested ones), so if you can't handle that, don't watch the film.

4) The tragedy is tragic and the love story is surprising. The ending was quite moving and was tragic because the flaws of the characters led to their own demise and loss of the things that they love.

5) Cinematography and direction are very strong and the primary actresses are particularly strong.

In the end, this was a well rendered adaptation, so much that I'm curious as to what the original source material is like. I really like the plot lines and the story because it converges so many different themes into a tragic tale of human weakness and yet manages to paint the weak, fallible and sometimes wicked characters in such a way that you still have some sympathy for them, showing that there is something in everyone that was or is beautiful, but it can get buried under the vices of this world.

All the actors are not strong and the film suffers a little from slow pacing, but in the end, it's a very watchable film that has a lot of strengths, even if the film isn't one of the great films of all time. If you can handle the content, I recommend this film. 8/10.

Reviewed by Rogue-32 7 / 10

Well-told Scandal

I've seen the previous films based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and I have to say that this one is surely the most subtle of the bunch, with wonderfully nuanced performances from all concerned. The story is familiar, of course, to anyone acquainted with the material, but it's the way it's told here, with such profound restraint, that separates it from being merely derivative. I haven't seen that many films from Korea, but based on this one, I would definitely like to see more, particularly from director Je-yong Lee.

Can't imagine why Elvis Mitchell (in his Times review) called this a comedy (and it's even listed here at IMDb as a drama/comedy) - perhaps if you're a first-class sadist, it would come across as amusing, this tragic story of disillusionment, heartbreak and ultimate death. I wasn't laughing.

(7 - the equivalent of a high *** - see my review of AI for my IMDb number/star equivalents, unique to this site)

Reviewed by divemaster13 8 / 10

Vibrant Korean adaptation of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"

"Revenge is sweetest when done secretly."

"Untold Scandal" is a lush adaptation of the novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" set in Chosun Dynasty Korea. I have not read the novel nor seen any of the other film adaptations (e.g., "Dangerous Liaisons"; "Cruel Intentions"), so my review is on the merits of the film itself rather than a comparison to other works.

Lady Cho is none too happy when her husband brings in 16-year-old So-OK to be his concubine. She is cute and virginal and of course Lady Cho can't stand it. So she turns to her cousin, Sir Cho Won, and makes a devious proposition--seduce this "innocent flower" and impregnate her. The thought of presenting her husband with a pregnant concubine makes Lady Cho's eyes sparkle. What would Cho Won get in return? What he has always wanted—to enjoy the carnal pleasures of Lady Cho.

But the idle rich are easily bored and this is hardly the test Cho Won was looking for. Seducing a naïve teenager is no challenge. A few flattering words and, well, what girl would *not* fall into bed with the dashing and charming Cho Won? He offers a counter-proposal. If he can bed the virginal Lady Chung, who belongs to a Catholic group and has made a vow of chastity, that would be a true accomplishment worthy of the reward Lady Cho offers. (Of course, being the Lothario that he is, he can't help making eyes at So-OK as well. Just a little something on the side to keep in practice.) Now the games begin. Cho Won finds it rough going, as Lady Chung wants nothing to do with him. She has heard of his reputation and she has no interest in anything but her Catholic service and charity work. She's rather a plain Jane and can't even conceive of why Cho Won would want to have anything to do with her anyway. In fact, she tells him straight out that she would rather live with the plague victims than even carry on a conversation with him. He's certainly got his work cut out for him.

Lady Cho gets a perverse pleasure out of this game of seduction and manipulation. And she's got her own devious games to play with the clueless So-OK.

The scheming escalates in intensity and nefariousness. Will Lady Chung crack? Will Lady Cho have to pay up on the bet? Will So-OK end up a pregnant bride? Will the Law of Unintended Consequences come back to bite Cho Won? The challenge for the actors is to make such characters engaging enough so that the viewer isn't completely turned off by them. Let's face it. Cho Won is a cad of the first degree, and Lady Cho is no better. Even when it appears that Cho Won is succumbing to actual feelings of affection and love, we are not sure if it is genuine or just a part of his merciless game.

Many films can offer up good villains, but they are usually played off against protagonists who have the audience's sympathy and interest. It is more of a task when the villains have to carry the film. I think "Untold Scandal" rises to the challenge admirably. The scheming cousins set about their plans with such style and panache that viewers may find themselves actually rooting for them. These are interesting characters who are surprisingly multi-dimensional (especially in the case of Cho Won).

My major issue with the film was that the ending seemed sort of slapped together. Up until then we've been treated to a very tight and contained piece, but then things start spinning all over the place. I'm not sure if this is true to the original story or if the director felt that after 2 hours he'd better just wrap things up.

If you like costume and period pieces, this is the movie for you. The look of the film is colorful and vibrant. The Hong Kong DVD version carries a Category III rating for some nudity, eroticism, and sensuality, but it is not some silly sex romp. The characters develop, and there are some surprises along the way.

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