Directed by EJ-yong, starring Bae Yong-joon, Lee Mi-sook, Jeon Do-yoen and Lee Soh-yeon.
Based on Choderlos de Laclos' 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses', the subject matter of 'Untold Scandal' will be familiar to anyone who's read the book or seen the many film adaptations of it ('Dangerous Liaisons', 'Valmont', 'Cruel Intentions'). The action in this case is moved to late 19th Century Korea, a period similar to the Victorian era, but the intrigue is just as scandalous.
It centres around two cousins, the married Lady Cho (Lee Mi-sook) and Jo-won (Bae Yong-joon), a wealthy womaniser. Their sexual chemistry is undeniable and it turns out that circumstances prevented them from marrying when they were younger. Lady Cho wants to take revenge on her husband by having Jo-won impregnate his new concubine Soh-ok (Lee Soh-yeon). Jo-won, however, is more interested in deflowering his neighbour Lady Jung (Jeon Do-yeon), despite her chaste reputation. Lady Cho promises to surrender herself to him if he can accomplish the feat.
It proves harder than Jo-won expects though, as Lady Jung, a secret Catholic convert, rejects his advances. He persists and she eventually succumbs to his charms. In an unexpected twist, Jo-won falls in love with Lady Jung, causing Lady Cho's jealousy to erupt, with devastating consequences.
It can be difficult to inject new life into an old story, but EJ-yong's film does it very well, introducing a note of real regret and tragedy and making this tale of deceit and scandal one of heartbreak and loss. Jeon Do-yeon shines as the reserved Lady Jung and Lee Mi-sook also excels as the devious Lady Cho.
'Untold Scandal' is a little long, with the action dragging somewhat in the earlier scenes, but it's an enjoyable take on an old story.