Wow! They don’t make movies like this in the U.S., thats for sure. This movie tackles a topic so taboo I don’t think a domestic mainstream movie containing this topics will ever exist in the next 20 years. A Frozen Flower is about a relationship between two men which slowly turns into a triangle of jealousy with an addition of a woman. The film recounts the fictional tale of a King during Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). In order to keep the throne the King needs to produce a son. With him being a homosexual, this is particularly difficult, wouldn’t you say? So, he instead enlists his childhood friend, who is also his lover, to sleep with the Queen and produce an offspring on his behalf. I think you can see where this is going.
For those manly men who will immediately be turned off by this films content, I want to point out that only one sequence explicitly shows the king and his friend getting it on; there’s much more passionate action on the other side of the triangle with the woman involved. Also, the action, when it erupts, is tightly choreographed and highly visceral. Thats all aside, and the love triangle established, the plot sprints ahead with a portrayal of the uncontrollable anger and jealousy of the king, leaving heads rolling in the process.
Director Yoo uses the act of physical love as a means for the characters to connect with each other. I don’t use a rating system here but it should be noted that this is not a film for kids. This film has nudity, violent swordplay and shocking torture, which further adds to the tension and helps to keep things entertaining. The film itself is gorgeous. Stunning cinematography, well-choreographed fight scenes and of course, fabulous costumes.
The production design was very detailed yet fairly streamlined, the musical score kept at the appropriate pace, and the editing is as expected considering some action scenes. Although the performance were good, my main gripe is that love and lust were really hard to separate in the movie, and I’m not convinced that Lim truly loved the queen. This might be particularly hard to convey on a movie screen but I’ve seen it executed better before in other films. Frankly put, A Frozen Flower is a movie that stimulates the senses.