April 20, 2008

Untold Scandal: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Some stories bear repeating. Such is the case with Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the oft-adapted epistolary novel of romantic deceit. I've seen the jazzy French movie adaptation with Jeanne Moreau; the stately American one with Glenn Close; and now this polished Korean version set at the close of the Chosun Dynasty of the 18th century. I like it every time. I've always believed that it never hurts to know the ending of a story beforehand because if the tale is well-told you'll still keep wondering what comes next. Spoilers are for secondary works of art. There's also a perverse pleasure that accompanies knowing what's ahead and riding the tension caused by not knowing how you're going to get there. In short, if you think you already know this story, you kind of do and you kind of don't. Performed as a costume drama with all the crazy wigs and silken garments any girl could ask for, Untold Scandal has the predestination of a Greek tragedy, the philosophical learning of The Art of Seduction, and enough deadpan faces for a poker tournament. Love might be the ultimate game but it's also a dangerous one in which the most consumate players are fated to end up losers.

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