When Prince Sungwon (Kim Dong-Wook) first sees Hwa-Yeon (Jo Yeo-Jeong), the daughter of a wealthy nobleman (Ahn Seok-Hwan) for the first time, he quickly falls in love with her. But Hwa-Yeon faithfully loves Kwon-Yoo (Kim Min-Jun), a commoner which Hwa-Yeon’s father doesn’t particularly agrees with their relationship. So both Hwa-Yeon and Kwon-Yoo end up running away from their home especially when her father decides to send her to the royal palace as a concubine. But the two forbidden lovers get caught by Hwa-Yeon’s father and his men after their first night together. To spare Kwon-Yoo’s life, Hwa-Yeon makes her ultimate sacrifice and agrees to her father that she’ll be going to royal palace to become concubine.
The problem with this movie is that it goes in a complex and jumbled direction and some parts of it lead to hardly anything all that effective. The cinematography and acting is good and some parts are just cruel which leaves a bit of a impression on how things worked during the Joseon Dynasty. When it comes to males their manhood means just about everything to them(well for most men at least) and their pride comes from the length of it all. Even when they compete it comes down to their ego which is basically a penis measuring competition. The plot contrived of something more than what it is. And when it comes down to it the moral of this movie is to never mess with a man’s penis or you will face the consequences. As comedic as that sounds that is basically the message of this movie although everything is a bit jumbled. Besides the penis aspect of it all it sort of reminded me of the 2010 Korean movie “The Servant” which Jo Yeo-Jeong who is the lead actress in this was part of. Because both movies are erotic and sexual while dealing with the distance a man would go for their love or the person they lust over. While also dealing with a person that is constantly getting in the way of if all. So the plot in this is basically about a woman that tries to save his lover’s life when they decided to run away together and get caught. And thus she volunteers to become a concubine for the king in order to save her lover’s life. But soon a bunch of conspiracies happen in the palace when the king passes away and the prince is in love well in lust over the concubine way before she became a concubine and finds her in the palace before the king’s death.
After the movie is finished nothing much about is memorable and the plot just doesn’t stick. The plot isn’t bad, in fact some parts of it is actually quite well written but there really isn’t anything special about it and is unfocused as times. The Concubine is a dual-genre picture. Because it’s set in the early Joseon period, it’s obviously a costume period piece. It’s also a film noir of sorts, and in the hands of Kim Dae Sung, that means there’s a lot of nakedness and humping. When it comes down to the core of it all besides the whole penis thing, is that just about all the characters in this act for their own self interest…I guess somethings never change.
Although The Concubine comprises of many subplots, it offers substance and ample entertainment to mature audiences. The manner and build-up of the characters is simply so amazing – that during the film there is a real sense of emotional attachment to them, especially the emperor. Described as an “intense, multi-textured journey that is certainly worth the effort“, with “psychological depths that demand multiple viewings,” by the Korean Times, this film brings semi-disappointment and since I don’t agree, it doesn’t actually live up to its hype.