Masquerade - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Masquerade Reviews

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December 9, 2016
Magnificent South Korean historical film, Byung-hun Lee is amazing in both roles
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2016
Formulaic, but thanks to the performances and execution, it's reasonably entertaining.
½ December 20, 2015
Great sets and a great depiction of the Korean royal life with a lot of humour and cheek. The story is too simple, and that's the only negative but compensated by the general drama and fun all around.
May 30, 2015
Solid version of a story done many times before. Very entertaining and informative of South Korea's history. Those hats, though! Ridiculously hilarious. Not that Western period fashion wasn't also ridiculous, but those hats make everyone look so silly.
March 15, 2015
Beautifully done Korean epic tale that while formulaic still delivers great performances in a heart-felt storyline without being cheap at all in the telling of the story.
January 6, 2015
A complete masterpiece. Well cast and executed with exceptional cinematography. I love the concept of a double for the king, and moreover what he does with the power he assumes being the King's double. What a great film. I enjoyed it as a drama in every possible way. I could see myself watching it again one day.
September 9, 2014
Hokey of course, but damn good.
July 18, 2014
Nice - well directed movie
July 14, 2014
Refreshing change from Hollywood.
July 10, 2014
A bit of a Pauper and the King story, but also featuring an impressive performance from Lee Byung Hyun in a double role. Lavish costume design, with some moments of over drama and I don't know about the historical accuracy, but otherwise a pretty competent film.
½ June 21, 2014
Good performances, filming and delightful.
½ June 9, 2014
Highly engaging, and gorgeous to look at, creating very engaging characters in this period drama speculation of the missing 16 days from the record of the King Gwanghae. Mixing comedy and tragedy, and what could have been rather cheesy lines were delivered without being over the top.
April 17, 2014
Found this by chance at the library...once of the best movies I have ever watched. I was in TEARS more than once due to the story line and the acting. The costumes and lighting are sublime and doesn't bow to modern niceties like an American 'historical' drama would.
February 22, 2014
Just finished watching this truly magnificent 17th century Joseon dynasty period drama and can see why it deserves all the accolades particularly for Byung-hun Lee's dual performance as both the real and imposter king. Beautiful set design, cinematography and music help set the tone of this engrossing film. See this on blu-ray if you can since the region 3 dvd tends to have a darker contrast which tend to obligerate the details of the sets and costume design.
November 21, 2013
Outstanding. The movie is both funny as well as having a great story that is loosely based on history. The cinematography is fantastic as well. Overall, one of the best movies of this type that I've seen.
November 12, 2013
( Soufiane El Khalidy)Qui a dit qu'un roi, a la belle vie? Un roi n'est que le prisonnier de son palace et de son peuple. Une photographie et des prestations magistrales pour ce film coréen, qui n'a plus rien d'asiatique, mais qui se pose plus comme une oeuvre universelle. Si ce film était Américain, il aurait gagné 5 oscars minimum. Je n'ai pas peur de dire que Byung Hun Lee est le plus grand acteur actuel de la planète, avec Christian Bale. il est charismatique, puissant, sexy, drôle et sensible.Pour les fans de Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt et Johnny Depp, la relève est assurée.
October 19, 2013
Watch it in original language with subtitles
September 30, 2013
One of the best historical master piece presented by korean cinema.
½ September 23, 2013
Last year's South Korean box office champion (a No. 3 all-time grossing picture in the history of Korean cinema), this period drama stars Byung-hun Lee for a meaty dual role, the king and his doppelgänger scoundrel, intricately chronicles a spell of 15 days' clandestine regency under the helm of the said doppelgänger.

A grandeur of a period drama pivots heavily on its art design, set decoration, makeup and costumes whether or not can conjure a believable world of that time, as a result MASQUERADE is impeccable in all these aspects. Despite basically it is an interior chamber piece, a few outdoor shots meticulously dispense us legitimate solemnity and natural quaintness.

The outline of the story is quite straightforward, and all the ramifications are predictable, the transformation from a good-to-nothing to a righteous and gallant role model is the unflagging keynote, director Chang-min Choo interposes effectual gags in-between the brooding atmosphere, first time we saw a king breaks wind on screen and his eye-opening defecation formalities, which is gross at first glance, but the comical reaction is pure golden! (Hollywood should learn how to turn repellent vulgarity into some genuine laughter from it).

Finally Lee scoops up his representative work on big screen which could testify his talent beyond the awful exploitation of his taciturn Asian fighter figure in Hollywood action potboilers. Acting with his mother tongue, the constant changeover of manners and tones is a demanding task, he successfully nail both the imperial majesty and the antic street-smartness. What is more touching is among the set pieces where the expendable side characters face their doom, Lee's reactive performances are wonderfully empathetic, effectively efface the cliche and sappy default of a thin plot. Seung-yong Ryoo (the helping hand), Hyo-ju Han (the queen) and Gwang Jang (the eunuch) all offer a bit subtler presence pertains to their different functions.

There is an elephant in the room since everyone knows the impostor cannot be spared at any rate, so the film cunningly contrives a twist to lift the culmination which we cannot say is a mind-blowing one, at least it is a tenable one. Overall, the film is slightly over-stretching its sentimentality but nevertheless stands for a universal crowd-pleaser and a top-notcher of South Korean film industry.
September 19, 2013
A nice twist on an old story. Thoroughly beautiful and engaging.
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