In the decision to leave, Park Chan-wook backed down

Decision to leave.
Photo: MUBI / YouTube

In Park Chan-wook’s films, form does not follow function but emotion. The Korean director is known for his exuberant style films, which feature amazing (and often fantastic) camera movements and compositions that act as external connections into the inner lives of the characters. In his previous article, the maid (2016), which may be his masterpiece, the complex and tangled sets reflected the multi-layered duality of characters, and the feeling that each person in this film was creating a false reality for others (not unlike the director himself). This is just one of the many qualities that make Park one of the greatest artists of our time. He amaze you with his pictures, yes, but in your amazement you also find yourself trapped inside the heads of his heroes. Maybe another great emoji.

Decision to leave It was described as a director’s exit, which is partly true. The new image showcases a few of the graphic qualities that have earned Park his somewhat dismissive moniker provocateur. This does not mean that these elements do not exist. The story, on paper at least, is teeming with violence and desire; It just bury everything. An insomniac police detective, Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) is called to a scene: an old climber is found dead at the base of a cliff he’s traversed several times. The man’s wife, a Chinese immigrant named Seo-rae (Tang Wei), doesn’t seem to show the requisite amount of sadness, so suspicions begin about her. However, married Hye Joon is immediately taken in by this beautiful and mysterious woman, and his investigation soon turns into obsessive obsession with no goal in sight. He doesn’t want her to be guilty, and he seems eager to prove that she’s not – but he also doesn’t want to drop the case and lose it.

There’s a lot of story, including an interesting kind in the middle of the movie, but Park’s real interest here, of course, is the intertwining and tender relationship that develops between Hae-jun and Seo-rae. and while Decision to leave Not anywhere near as flowery as Park’s other films, the director finds an intriguing stylistic connection to Hye Joon’s obsession by occasionally placing the two characters in the same room together even when they’re apart in the real world. From his car, Hye Joon watches Seo-rae in her apartment, but he imagines himself there with her, and that’s also how we see the scene. Telephone conversations are run at the same location. At one point, we saw Hye Joon climbing the rock where Seo Rae’s husband had fallen; We see it climb as well. Is it intermittent flashback, projection, dream, or nightmare? Is it, in a way, all of these things? Regardless, it’s an amazing way to let us get carried away in the delirium of Hae Jun’s adoration for Seo-rae; We lose our sense of reality.
At this level, the movie isn’t a huge departure after all. Park still wants us to inhabit the psychological realities of his characters.

At least that’s the idea. Sometimes, Decision to leave He seems too smart stylistically for his own good. Park gets obsessive confusion right — but not, perhaps, longing, isolation,… actual obsession. When we constantly see this man and this woman together, we feel no absence or longing. The beautifully acted scene where Hye Joon and Seo Rae walk around a Buddhist temple and confess their feelings for each other loses some of its power because we can’t really get to the joy of their cooperation. Maybe we’ll see the emotional climax of a different movie.

The story also seems disjointed, as if Park might be two steps ahead of himself. Sticking to a more conservative approach, he forgot that the film still needed to function on a basic level as both a narrative experiment and a personal study. Hye Joon is supposed to be a stubborn detective, often looking confused and exhausted, with wide, sleepless eyes of an insomnia patient who regularly douses her with drops. But the character is never separated from its motto. Park gave him attributes, not dimensions. He has a ridiculous amount of pockets. It keeps a wall full of horrific images neatly arranged from open cases. He gets sick when he sees blood. He is meticulous, always careful not to touch anything at the crime scene with his bare fingers. It’s all quite symbolic – like a checklist of items from Hye Joon’s life that Seo Rae will definitely (and somewhat schematic) change.

Meanwhile, the investigation itself, and the initial suspicion of murder, as well as the later discoveries that are supposed to have motivated the film, turn into a series of dimes. A husband’s death seems like an open and closed issue even if his wife does not appear outwardly devastated by the loss. (By the way, she has a decent explanation for that). In other words , Decision to leave Somewhat unconvincing as a procedural measure. This may be rude or pointless criticism. Genre is not the film’s primary goal; Such as vertigoYou mostly want to be a mood piece. But Park cares enough about the way he lays out the basics of the story that it turns out that he understands it policeman He is the engine around which the story of obsession and forbidden love is built. Unfortunately, the engine is worn out this time.

What we’re left with, in the end, is a fragmented and sometimes disconnected journey that nonetheless delivers some really beautiful sequences, not the least of which is a finale that almost haunts and saves almost the entire picture.
Most of all, we were left with Tang Wei’s beautiful performance. In keeping with the film’s intent, Seo-rae all have subtle undercurrents and contradictions. It’s outwardly submissive, but it’s playful on the bottom. The fragility and determination of the dance on her face. She looks capable of both extreme tenderness and extreme cruelty. There’s not much chemistry between her and Hye-jun, but maybe there’s no need for that. When watching the movie, it’s hard not to be fascinated by it ourselves.

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