After his dazzling Vengeance Trilogy (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLD BOY, LADY VENGEANCE) drew genre film fans into a world of graphic hyper-violence and powerful dark passions, Park Chan-wook elevated the tone and style of his suspense thrillers with THE HANDMAIDEN. He’s brought that same refined elegance to his latest seductive masterwork, and we can only be grateful.
DECISION TO LEAVE is an exceptional love story and a sublime noir thriller that invites the audience not to seek a culprit or a solution to the riddles proposed by the plot, but to get lost in a mesmerizing tangle of tension, slow-burning desire and subtle emotions. The resulting experience is a personal and highly satisfying immersion in pure cinema.
Everything starts with a fall. A man who was climbing a mountain is found dead, crashed on the ground. Tragedy? Suicide? Homicide? Handsome detective Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) investigates the mystery. He is a gentle man, happily married and devoted to his work, the youngest inspector in Busan, a city of unsolved cases where crime rides high.
Making the case even smokier is Seo-rae (Tang Wei), the elusive, charismatic, and impossibly attractive Chinese wife of the deceased, whose charm creeps under Hae-jun’s skin. In ways he could have never envisioned, their broken conversations — deciphered through smartphone translations, her composed gestures, and mysterious allure — upset his life little by little, making him fall mentally and emotionally.
Wei’s performance intrigues and captivates, her black-widow role seemingly tailored to her magnetic personality, shining in the splendid work of indisputable Korean master Park. (Synopsis from Toronto International FIlm Festival 2022)
“I felt shivers of VERTIGO and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, plus an intense desire to see it again. Park encourages such close inspection: every frame is like a painting, with hints to character motivation and plot twists” —Peter Howell, Toronto Star “The brunt of Park’s clockwork finesse is articulated through editing, blocking, and his ability to coax luscious detail out of the functional setups most filmmakers would surrender to the script.” —David Erlich, IndieWire