Synopsis

Over a period of eight days, an 18th. century Korean king punishes his only son for attempted regicide. Flashbacks reveal the chain of events that led the son to rebel against his father in this tale of the strained relationships that exist between all fathers (who want their sons to grow into fine and competent men) and their sons (who struggle to prove themselves in order to earn their fathers' respect and approval).

Director

Lee Joon-ik

Cast

Song Kang-ho
as King Yeongjo
Yoo Ah-in
as Crown Prince Sado
Moon Geun-young
as Lady Hyegyeong-gung
Jeon Hye-jin
as Royal Consort Yeong-bin
Kim Hae-sook
as Queen In-won
Park Won-sang
as Hong Bong-han
So Ji-sub
as King Jeongjo

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Richard-Palace-248-37158 10 /10

'How dignified is the arrow which flies so freely' A review of Sado (The Throne)

I walked into this film, with the extent of my knowledge being the drawn portraits of Prince Sado and King Yeongjo floating around google images. By the time I left the cinema, I felt I've become close companions with these men.

There is a tragically mesmerizing direction Lee Joon Ik accomplishes in his intimate insight into the Royal family. It is difficult to project the arduous politics of the kingdom in a way which doesn't diminish the drama, but heightens its emotional punch. Believe me, it's quite a punch. A series of flashbacks investigates how the relationship between King Yeongjo and his son, Crown Prince Sado deteriorates. Essentially showing how a once proud father can condemn his son to a brutal punishment. It's a wonderful piece of film editing, gripping the viewers to a claustrophobic degree as we witness Sado's sufferings, while never losing interest in the family's origins whenever the film jumps back a few years or so.

Perhaps, the greatest element of this film is undoubtedly it's ability to depict deceased historical figures with a brooding complexity and vibrance. Particularly, Yoo Ah In's portrayal of Sado is captivating in its depiction of the man's compassion, thirst for freedom and his eventual conflicted psyche. Never is there once a hint of a stereotypical, one dimensional, cold blooded lunatic. No. This is an incredible portrayal of a human being, as these historical figures were.

The inability to emphasize with and encourage others is a fault exposed here. This is how the film transcends from a dramatic period piece to a work of art which deeply resonates in families caught in strife. It truly is an absorbing insight into life between the palace walls during the height of familial tension, boasting an emotional prowess that would tingle within you for some time. A masterpiece has been extracted from this segment of history.

Reviewed by puerta17 10 /10

A very relevant topic that covers familial issues in the present day

Sado is a very beautifully orchestrated film with great acting. The film transparently portrays the conflict between a father and a son that everyone in the present day can relate to. Although the father happens to be a king and the son a prince, this film shows that every father and son, no matter their social standing, is essentially the same. The film does not only focus on the father-son relationship, but also shows the mother's heartbreak in the midst of conflict. I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to embark on a journey of feels and empathy.

Reviewed by alisonc-1 6 /10

Beautifully Rendered, But Still a Soap

By 1762, the Joseon dynasty in Korea has been in power for about 300 years, and it's managed to stay in power that long through a mixture of Confucian disciplinary skills amongst the functionaries and adherence to strict codes of behavior and style in the court. Yeongjo (Song Kang-ho) has been King for decades; his son by a concubine, Sado (Yoo Ah-in) is the Crown Prince but he doesn't follow the Confucian teachings (in fact, he hates to study at all) and doesn't adhere to behavioral norms either. When, in a fit of madness, he decides to assassinate his father, his plot is foiled and the King, unable to accuse him of high treason because that would place the dynasty in peril, decides to name him a commoner and condemn him to death. A terrible death, though, one in which the Crown Prince is placed in a sealed wooden box and left in the hot sun to slowly die of thirst and hunger. As the days pass, the story of how such a thing came to pass is told in a series of flashbacks, detailing the tragedy of this royal family…. This film is based on a true incident in Korean history, one that is of huge importance in that culture because of all the social resonance it encompasses. The film is beautifully created, with sumptuous costumes and gorgeous vistas, and both lead actors are convincing in their roles. But, well, the story comes across as quite sentimental and melodramatic (just about all the various women do in the film is weep silently, although there is a memorable scene with the Dowager Queen late in the film), and frankly, at 125 minutes, it's just way longer than it needed to be. In particular, the last 10-15 minutes are quite pointless, at least to someone who is not Korean and thus doesn't have the cultural or historical background to appreciate it. I liked it overall, but it could have done with some judicious editing, I think.

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