Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review on Korean Movie: A Frozen Flower (2008)

Title: Frozen Flower (2008)
Genre: Period Drama, Romance
Duration: 133 mins
Directed by Yu Ha
In Seong Jo as Hong Lim
Jin Mo Ju as King of Goryeo
Ji-hyo Song as Queen of Goryeo

Under the virtual rule of China's Yuan Dynasty, the King of Georyo has to produce an heir to keep his position.  Unfortunately, he cannot bear to sleep with a woman and only has eyes for his loyal general, Hong Lim, who is his real lover.
Thinking that all his political problems will go away once he produces an heir, he unexpectedly asks his lover to sleep with the queen.  He assumed that Hong Lim, who has never slept with a woman before, would stay true and loyal to him even after sleeping with a woman.  He miscalculated on his assumption though and failed to consider that bonds may be formed after mating. 
Hong Lim, who had always placed the king above all else, was hesitant to perform the king's orders at first but after the king urged him to perform his order, he does so and soon, his emotions were stirred in the process of mating with the queen. 
Soon after, all three were enmeshed in a complicated love triangle which led to deep-seated rage, uncontrollable anger, betrayal, and numerous deaths. 
Complicating the situation further is the political stability of the kingdom with threats of killing the king and establishing the Yuan Dynasty as the ruler of the kingdom.
I was shocked by the graphic sex scenes between the king and his chief guard and the scenes between the queen and the chief guard as well.  What was even more shocking to me is that the sexual orientation of the king seemed to be an open-book secret.  The scenes were very graphic and steamy and at times too revealing but was never offensive.  The cast were beautiful though which probably helped maintain balance in the film.
I was deeply impressed with the performance of Jin Mo Ju and his portrayal of the conflicting emotions, feeling his deep hurt which eventually leads him to abandon his sanity in pursuit of his love for Hong Lim.  In Seong Jo also gave good performance but somehow, I felt his performance was more inclined with the steamy sex scenes rather than the scenes outside of the bedroom (and the library).
I almost felt sorry for the queen in the end but somehow, I never got there.  Although the king did atrocious acts in his jealous rage, I somehow connected to his character more and felt his pain and regrets.  He only had his eyes set on Hong Lim and has never wavered on his emotions towards the chief guard. 
However, it became apparent though that Hong Lim's emotions were not at the same levels as the king's as he wavered after he mated with the queen and fell in love with her, leading him to abandon the king and ultimately seek his death. 
I am not convinced however that he never felt anything for the king besides loyalty due probably perhaps to his hesitation to initially sleep with the queen and his undying devotion before then.  The king might not have been his one great love but I felt, there was an emotional connection between them though.  When he knew he was dying, he chose to look at the king, shed a tear and somehow, I'm not sure if it was regret he felt for denying he ever loved the king, that being his last words or was it he was confused with his emotions until the end?  There was also the scene of them hunting together which was the king's dream which leads me to doubt if he never truly loved the king at all.
The worst scene was when the king wanted to give him the stallion and waited for him until the next day and he told the king he was at the library "reading military strategies" when in fact he went after the queen and slept with her the whole night.  I felt he was asking for death then and was brave enough to stare death on the face.  At that moment, when he lied, I felt as if my heart was being gripped with the knowledge that the king knows he's being lied to and still maintaining a straight face when deep inside, he must have felt like dying.
I found the movie very interesting, moving and stimulating.  We would never truly know Hong Lim's heart and could only stipulate on the scenes on the movie.  I give this movie 8.5 out of 10 stars.

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