Get the latest Syracuse news delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our newsletter here.
After 20 years of commercial filmmaking, viewers wondered if South Korean director Park Chan-wook had finally made his money with his latest project, Decision to Leave. The film is South Korea’s submission to the International Feature Film category at the 95th Academy Awards. But again, Oscar said no.
Chan-wook’s film “Oldboy” was a worldwide success in 2003, but South Korea was not named a national star in this category. Thirteen years later, Chan-wook delivered an erotic thriller with “The Handmaiden,” which suffered the same fate.
“Decision to Leave” was released in South Korea last summer and arrived in the US on October 14, 2022, where it is currently streaming on services such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Mubi. It received a lot of critical acclaim, including a Golden Globe nomination and Chan-wook winning Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. But the film will now be remembered as a major snub at this year’s Oscars.
Unlike his other films, Chan-wook said in an interview with The Big Picture that he didn’t want “Decision to Leave” centered around violence and sex, instead focusing on romance. There’s a problem, and it dives into the relationship between a police officer (Detective Hae-joon, played by Park Hae-il) and a suspect (Seo-rae, played by Tang Wei). Hye-joon investigates the death of Seo-rae’s husband, and both characters are temporarily separated until another crime brings them back together again before the film ends.
Both characters quickly become suspicious. Seo Rae is not shocked by her husband’s death, even laughing while answering questions in her interrogation room. Say you are working on a case.
The investigation itself unfolds in Hitchcockian fashion, full of twists and turns, and reveals more about Sole’s background. Chang-wook demonstrates his filmmaking abilities, using various match cuts to show Hye-joon betting Seo-rae first.
Hye-joon and So-rae become curious about each other’s lives while the audience is still discovering the reality behind the crime. Chang-wook draws the viewer into Hye-joon’s mind, showing him standing next to Seo-rae through her daily life, even though she’s actually peering through her binoculars from 100 yards away.
Stephanie Zaso | Digital Design Director
Hye-joon’s weapon of choice is archaic, but the use of modern technology is shown many times throughout the film. Minutes into the movie, he uses his mobile phone to take pictures of all the evidence at the scene of Sorae’s husband’s death. Sorae even uses her translator to say something in her native language, Mandarin, whenever she can’t express its significance in Korean.
The film also emphasizes the importance of texting, but Chan-wook presents it in a unique and cinematic way. Instead of the typical over-the-shoulder shot showing what Hye-joon types, an extreme close-up shows him waiting for Seo-rae’s response before the iconic three-dot symbol is superimposed on his smile. , which shows him typing all the letters.
When it is revealed that Sorae, an elderly caregiver, has stolen one of her patients’ cell phones to hide her tracks, digital images are again superimposed on Hye-joon’s face, revealing his new love. It shows Hae-jun frowning when he realizes he’s been deceived. he. This combination of mystery and new digital society further demonstrates how unique Chanwook’s approach to this story was.
Chan-wook said he didn’t intentionally try to recreate scenes from Hitchcock’s films, but the influence itself was generally more subconscious in his filmmaking decisions. These connections are hard to make in one sequence where Hye-joon pursues a criminal in another case. This essentially mimics the opening scene of “Vertigo”.
Chan-wook puts his own take on this style with another of the film’s strengths: a clever and entertaining script. When facing the culprit, Hye-joon goes into the most candid monologue in the entire film, confessing that she is in love with Seo-rae, and she expresses her sympathy for the man who committed the crime of passion.
On purpose, Hye-joon’s fall is sudden. The second half of the film shows Sorae’s life thirteen months after he moves to Ipoh, the same city as him, and similar events are repeated as in the first half of the film. In one of her most visually stunning sequences this year, Hye-joon joins Seo-rae on the mountaintop that killed her husband. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, almost expecting to be Sorae’s next victim.
Instead, she hugged him and admitted to moving to Ipo to be another unsolved case for him. In fact, that’s the closest thing to these two characters of hers, even if audiences want a complicated romance to blossom.
This sad but perfect ending caps off one of the most compelling movies of the year. Chan-Wook’s latest as a filmmaker shifts in and out of visually stunning images of romance, mystery and crime. Oscar shouldn’t have overlooked that.
Published January 30, 2023 at 11:24 PM
Contact Anish: [email protected] | | @anish_vasu