Time Out says
Not that the film pushes such points. A prologue alerts us not to take it as historical gospel: ‘The men and women who appear here are lecherous and immoral beyond belief,’ it promises. ‘One is led to doubt whether they indeed existed.’ In the event, it’s a shame that the film takes itself increasingly seriously as it proceeds. Rarely outright salacious, it unfolds its intrigue with a certain dramatic equanimity and visual period splendour – it’s richly shot by Kim Byeong-Il, Park Chan-Wook’s cinematographer on ‘Sympathy for Mr Vengeance’. But that much good work done, the film runs out of ideas, and the endgame plays out as doggedly prosaic. It’s hard not to pine for the nudie-painting, virgin-breaking Cho-Won in the full flower of his pre-comeuppance mischief.
Cast and crew