Park’s narrative of a married investigator divided between infidelity and moral responsibility keeps the audience off-balance at every step. An enthusiastic five-minute standing ovation greeted the South Korean director’s return to Cannes six years after his last appearance with “The Handmaiden.”
Honest Review of Park Chan-Wook’s Thriller Decision to Leave
The death of a man who fell from a mountain is being investigated by Detective Hae-Joon in Park Chan-latest Wook’s Cannes film, Decision To Leave. The director’s last film in this country, The Handmaiden, was released in 2016. Is there going to be a standing ovation for Decision To Leave?
It all depends on whether or not you enjoy the movie as a whole. I belong to the latter group. If so, does it hold up to the caliber of his previous work? Probably not, but because of the compelling characters, the journey of two hours and 18 minutes to the finish is well worth it.
Seo-Rae (Tang Wei) is now a widow. Her husband was killed when he fell down a cliff without warning. Or maybe he didn’t? Initially, Hae-Joon (Park Hae-il) doubts Seo-innocence, Rae’s but he soon begins to believe her. If you’re a woman, you’re supposed to be mourning the loss of your husband, right?
Hae-Joon, despite this, begins to descend into a state of obsessiveness. With Seo-Rae, it’s easy to get sucked in by her allure of mystery and silence. Hae-life Joon begins to collapse as the probe continues, and Seo-Rae notices and begins to play into his stalkerish behavior.
This inquiry is in danger because of his infatuation with her; he doesn’t realize how much he is jeopardizing it because he doesn’t want to look like a bad guy in the process. Even his partner in the investigation calls him out on favoring the suspect. Hae-Joon and his wife (yep, he is married) are moving to a new location to get away from her.
It’s not going to be easy to get rid of Seo-Rae, though. When she initially met the investigator, she thought he was merely a prank, but now she’s starting to feel the same way. To the lengths, we’ll all go for love… To learn more about Seo-past Rae and how she ended up in this situation, the audience must watch this episode.
The noir combination of romance and intrigue that binds these two characters together isn’t always cohesive throughout the entire film.
It’s fast-paced, seductive, and intellectual in the first 80 minutes. While infusing a healthy dose of sarcasm and comedy to break up the more somber scenes, Park does an excellent job of carefully crafting and framing his characters. There is a sensuality in every step and every glance. When he’s being interrogated by police, Park isn’t afraid to show off.
So that the viewers may get a feel for the characters, the foundations are laid out for them so that they can live vicariously through them.
When it comes to their personalities, they complement each other perfectly. She’s a femme fatale who attracts the wrong kind of men, and he’s a straight-laced officer who loves his work. It’s going to be a crazy voyage with these two at your side. As long as you don’t get to the second half of the film, everything are fine (no pun intended).
There are several parts of the film that feel disconnected. It’s hard to tell where you are in the timeline in Decision To Leave, thus exposition pieces have to be used to remind viewers. Now that the camera is moving like a Serena Williams tennis ball, the once exhilarating shooting approach has become chaotic.
In addition, the second significant reveal is a dud. I wouldn’t accept it and wouldn’t take it seriously, so I ignored it (yes, even in the world of Park Chan-wook). Despite the fact that his films are notoriously overlong, he typically manages to bring them to a satisfying finish; nonetheless, the finale to Decision To Leave is soulless and failed to leave an effect on me.
Actress Tang-Wei is the film’s greatest asset, and her performance is unforgettable. On the exterior, she appears demure, but she oozes seductiveness. Ang Lee had a rationale for casting her in Lust, Caution. If she has what it takes to be a Hollywood star, why hasn’t she already achieved it?
I’m going to give the film the benefit of the doubt because the first half is so good. Those that see Decision To Leave may disagree with my position on the matter. See it for the performances, the humor, and everything else that has made Park Chan-wook a world-renowned director so far. See it! Maybe I’ll reconsider it in the future and come to a different conclusion. It was a good movie for me, but I’m going to vote in the middle for now.