The Throne (2015) Poster


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'How dignified is the arrow which flies so freely' A review of Sado (The Throne)
Richard-Palace-248-3715822 October 2015
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.
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Beautifully Rendered, But Still a Soap
alisonc-119 July 2016
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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Fall of a prince
KineticSeoul25 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a bit of a draw out movie but isn't really a slow burner movie. The pacing of it had my attention most of the way through, but after the first hour it started to get a bit stale. I did appreciate the well crafted cinematography and for it now being a amateurish movie. With bunch of corny slapstick comedy thrown in to entertain the audiences. This is a historical film based on a true story about a prince that was ordered to get locked inside a confide space until he died. Because the king didn't find his son to be worthy of the position of being king and looked forward to his grandson taking his place instead. Mainly because the son was more interested in being free and art over order and studying. Which actually seems quite familiar to the dysfunctional aspects of most families these days. With the son or daughter rebelling against the parents and the parents forcing their belief down their child's throat. The acting for the most part is superb in this and it really makes some of the drawn out scenes very watchable. So, the beginning shows the prince getting locked up and from their on it goes from flashback to flashback on how the prince lost the favor from the king and what lead to that point. This isn't a action packed historical movie with swords and arrows flying everywhere, as a matter of fact there is almost none of that. As a matter of fact there is not even a villain that causes turmoil in the kingdom. Instead it's a historical drama about the fall of a prince and how what could have been easily avoided didn't work out because of stubborn attitude and grudge. Despite the drawn out aspect of this movie the build up for the most part had some tension to it. Overall this is a film worth checking out, at least once if you like historical dramas.

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Exquisite and painful
jmcaninch6813 April 2019
Any time Yoo Ah-In is in the film or series, he will reward viewers with his talent, and he always seems to be maturing as an artist. This film is one of SK's finest and one of the actor's best performances. It is also based on a true story that is painful to watch unfold as it does in "The Throne", perhaps too slowly, yet the closure is also beautiful.
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A very relevant topic that covers familial issues in the present day
puerta1721 March 2019
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.
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Fathers and Sons
fourbyfour-7286418 February 2018
Superb acting, beautiful costuming, elaborate sets, and engrossing locations mark this powerful tale of the strained relationships that exist between all fathers and their sons.

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 while the women and courtiers who love them both struggle to deal with the growing conflict.

What works for The Throne is that the movie evinces a common family psychological dynamic that exists between almost all fathers and their sons, but the dynamic is amplified by the fact that the family in question is a royal family and the stakes are higher. As all fathers struggle to challenge and build their sons without breaking them and as all sons endeavor to prove themselves and earn their fathers' seemingly unattainable respect, The Throne shows us how severe that dynamic can be when the fate of an entire country is at stake.

There is something for everyone in The Throne as fathers and sons might learn something about the other side's feelings and motivations while other family members and friends can relate to the helpless frustration of watching their loved ones fight each other.

With all of that psychoanalysis stated, The Throne also delivers exceptionally well for viewers who enjoy lavish costume dramas about royal families and their courtiers and/or period pieces about Asian history and culture. In summary, The Throne is excellent story telling.
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An Insight into Narcissistic Relationships
umamaran9 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The film is essentially a portrayal of a power struggle between a narcissistic father and his emotionally abused son, who naively strives to earn his father's love and admiration, but rebels against his father once he realizes that he can never please his father nor truly earn his respect. At every opportunity, the king-father publicly belittles and humiliates his son before his governing subjects, making the regent-son question his own self-worth. The king even goes to the extent of revealing to his son that he considers his own son to be an enemy, when they take a stroll through their ancestral burial/worship place. The king, finally realizing that he cannot fully control his son, replaces his rebelling son with his younger grand child, whom he can easily manipulate and control. The old king gives up his throne only after his death. The power-hungriness, contempt, violence, and the narcissistic need to subjugate and humiliate is made quite evident in the interactions of the king with his son. It was also interesting to see the conniving enablers in the court always trying to please the authoritative figure and not standing up to him. The apparent powerlessness and pathetic inability to stand-up to the oppressive figure in the victims as well as the enablers are quite striking. All in all, the movie provides a great insight to narcissistic relationships.
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love vs decorum
BlissQuest29 July 2017
My respect goes to Yoo Ah-in (Crown Prince Sado)for his performance, though there were other quite good performances as well. I have watched many Korean films, and was surprised to have not seen Yoo Ah-in's face before, so I googled his name. He appears to have been a model before taking on acting, and rightfully so based on his good looks. Not sure if modeling came before acting, but either way, this guy is not just another pretty face actor. There were a couple of scenes in the film where his character simply commanded me to well-up. The "trivia of decorum" is a phrase that stuck with me after watching this film. The only advantage of being the first born boy to a monarch in many ancient cultures (not just Asian), was that you were at least guaranteed meals, especially if times were hard. Otherwise, the pressures on young heirs seems to have been almost unbearable.
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The Rice Chest
foutainoflife4 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is about the events that lead up to the death of Korea's Crown Prince Sado in 1762. Costuming is ornate and beautiful with acting that was well suited to the characters. The script was decent and the story was in line with almost perfect historical accuracy. I liked everything about it but it seemed to be lacking a certain polish. It wasn't with the acting but something in the actual film quality. Aside from that this is a top notch film.
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Poor Film
imtiyazmasudbd23 August 2018
1. Very poorly executed film.

2. Song is the Best actor in the world at the moment! But he was completely wasted!

3. Yoo performed really well. But script was too feeble to hold it up!

Frustrating movie! Too much talking!! Too less entertaining!!
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