Myung Dang (an ideal spot) could change someone’s destiny. The one that occupies the site would rule the world.
One’s ancestors’ tomb spot could change one’s destiny. Jae Sang, a prodigal geomancer, loses his family while trying to stop the Kim family from conquering Korea by getting their hands on all the propitious tomb spots. 13 years later, Heung Sun from a fallen royal family comes to Jae Sang and suggests ousting the Kim family from power. The two men decide to work together, but they soon reach conflict when they learn of a tomb spot that would produce two kings in a family.
(Source: CJ Entertainment) Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
Amazing acting, unique perspective-Feng Shui master, find me a gravesite!English subs finally arrived for this much-anticipated film a couple of weeks ago! Only took them 11.5 months! :) Disclaimer: Ji Sung was 90% of why I watched this, the rest of the cast the other 10%. I make a point not to watch much in terms of trailers/teasers for Korean films because I learned at some point they tell WAY too much about the characters/plot twists that kind of ruin some of the films. While not many, there are a few important character revelations that make me happy I didn't go finding any and all content available for/about it despite looking for it steadily since almost a year ago. I'm going to avoid spoilers at all costs because I personally dislike them in reviews (which I tend to read before, not after, watching something).
The story starts with us seeing a king going with his young crown prince to choose the spot he'll be buried with his Feng Shui masters and the trainees they expect to take notes and nothing else. The old scholars show a site, say it's auspicious, and all nod, all but one youngster whose father was, of course, the best of the best Feng Shui geniuses which is apparently a thing. I guess like a genius doctor can take into account all a body's symptoms thoroughly and without taking too much time, a genius Feng Shui master can assess everything about an area, the water, the dirt, the trees, the direction the sun and wind and whatnot will be facing/blowing most of the time, important monuments or things like sharp mountain peaks that impact the 'value' of a site and so on quickly, thoroughly, and precisely. They see it more accurately. The young trainee who spoke up explained that the site was in fact cursed by cold water and rocks that drew snakes under them, but alas, he was ignored. The King, now that his site was chosen, indeed says adieu soon and the young boy becomes the king too early. Anyone wanting some eye candy of the young male variety, your new king is a cutie for sure, puppy eyes exploding and all.
So yeah, the story revolves around gravesites but is not at all spooky somehow. Maybe the fact that almost all of it is shot in the daytime-no nighttime grave robbing going on here-was a conscientious decision since it could have become really strange really fast. Corruption isn't something I like watching that much, especially government officials being corrupt and deception by ministers against kings etc. They must know a lot of us have gotten very bored with the long segments of elite ministers pretending to beg their king to do what they are in fact being power trippy and greedy about; the amount of time watching the greedy old ministers is minimal with one exception, the eldest of the most powerful (surprise, he's a Kim!) clan. Oh, and this seems a good time to point out that the 20-something trainee, wise but modest with a pretty wife and baby, is punished horribly for speaking up (by that all-powerful rich Kim and his arrogant son. Naturally, revenge is in order, and revenge can either be so depressing it's miserly or exciting and curious. This one is on the curious and sometimes exciting side. It's never boring, at least not to me. It packed a lot into two hours of time, fast-paced but never at all hurried seeming/unnatural, just rich. It's also intriguing to think that with the strong history of honoring your ancestors forevermore they paid such close detail to gravesites (which I totally get, as no one wants to dig up dirt where water and snakes are right at the edges or the now-unsettled dirt will soon be mud full of ticked off snakes)... but on the folklore side of it, they firmly believed that things like whether trees are growing upright or knotted or water is warm or cold around an area would change the future of all people in their family forever-wealth, power, health to elderly ages, etc were all things you could supposedly change for the existing and future generations by being buried in the right spot. People fighting to the death for the spot to put their bones and/or their parents', etc is a tad ironic. I guess to them if you didn't get a good plot to die in, why bother living, eh? :)
Of course the writing had to be good for me to enjoy it, and it is solidly researched (I noticed they thanked a lot in the end credits and among them is a company Linc that links people in the film industry and probably others with universities so they can produce something more accurate and just plain better). There is enough fact from history in this to feel like the entire thing happened recently enough to be told to us by someone who witnessed it-that's the power of both the writing, filming, directing/production, and most of all the acting that is 10/10 even if they were to take out Ji Sung (I might not have watched it for another year or few without him, though, so I'm VERY glad he took the role!). This cast has all lead level actors playing what is truly like a half dozen or so main characters. None are unimportant and all of them just OOZE charisma, power, conviction, and all the things their characters have to have to levels it is a total treat, a gift, even, to see. The end gives us a short but sweet cameo from Heo Sung Tae, one of my favorite great guys to hate on screen (but Big Forest is so endearing and adorable I couldn't see him the same way for a long while and kept snickering when seeing him play a bad guy even though he never ever breaks character in the actual shows and films). He's a good guy in this one!
The music and rewatch values I gave 8's because one watch and I got everything from it I think I will but I will probably enjoy it again in another several months because it's just great acting, seamless and so in-character every second the actors stopped being actors (except Ji Sung-can't kill that charisma or my adoration, but I fully got into his role to a point of only occasionally pausing to study the intense expression he wore. His character's a total chameleon, something few can do convincingly. He isn't the lead role (second lead)-the steadfast Feng Shui master is our lead, but gotta admit Ji Sung's role is way more fun and dynamic, interesting, all the stuff he's made to be!
I highly recommend this for anyone who either enjoys unique looks into history and how humans thought about life and death and so on in different places and times or just likes the cast (I didn't bother listing them off since it is a bit redundant, but they're all top league folks). The complicated interpersonal relationships they have going on really are brilliantly executed, and you really don't quite know the motivation of people-they all wear various layers of masks and some wear many (the chief gisaeng especially). The acting is SO so good it gets a 9.5 from me -even- compared to dramas. I say that as someone who isn't that crazy about most of Korean films but loves quite a lot of dramas from there, especially things with unusual settings, jobs of the people, etc. (Repetition is by definition tedious, so like Ji Sung took a really interesting different role from what he's played so far, I liked getting something quite different, too!)