Decision to Leave: a romantic and poetic investigation by Park Chan-wook
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REVIEW / FILM REVIEW – After “Mademoiselle”, Park Chan-wook returns with “Decision to Leave” to a Hitchcockian and romantic thriller carried by the magnetism of Tang Wei.
Park Chan-wook does not weaken, Tang Wei hypnotizes
One of the recurring themes of the cinema of Park Chan-wook is the “false pretense”. By its characters, who are not really what they seem – such as the vampire priest of Third or the two liars of Miss. But this theme must also apply to his cinema, and here at Decision to Leave. A film which seems simple, almost easy, but which still hides a great work which holds all its richness in its details.
The story is that of a policeman in charge of investigating the death of a man, found at the foot of a cliff. Everything seems to indicate that this climber fell, or even committed suicide, but doubt hangs over a little grieving widow. This woman, Song Sore, is Tang Wei who embodies her, a Chinese actress whom we find with great pleasure and whose the magnetism still has its effectfour years later A great journey into the night by Bigan. A presence luminous and hypnotic who wears beautifully Decision to Leave.
A Hitchcock thriller in content and form
As soon as he looks at her, the inspector finds himself troubled. We know the importance of morality in the Korean filmmaker, probably inherited from Alfred Hitchcock. It is moreover to Vertigo (1959) what clearly means Decision to Leave. Like James Stewart facing Kim Novak, Inspector Hae-joon forgets his principles (he is a married man, while Stewart wanted someone else’s wife) and his professionalism by truly projecting himself (a great idea for staging ) alongside Sore. In hideout, he observes her, lives and comments on his daily life in audio recordings.
Detective comedy (burlesque levity is still as present and mastered by Park Chan-wook), we thus switch to a inevitably tragic romance. Because the other theme pursued by the filmmaker is impossible love. A platonic love between South and North Koreans in JSAan incestuous love in old boydestructive in Third or prohibited in Miss (of a rare optimistic finality) and therefore Decision to Leave.
Decision to Leave : double investigation and subtle romance
While still a suspect in the case, Hae-joon grows closer to Sore and their romantic relationship develops subtly, always in falsely anecdotal details which will be important in a second part. Like the meal typical chinese prepared by Hae-joon in Sore. The latter’s choice of words, which ” speaks imperfect korean “. Or even the use of audio recordings which will become veritable private diaries, before being the subject ofa barely audible declaration of love. With Decision to LeavePark Chan-wook thus applies the codes from the detective film as much to the detective story as to the romance. One does not go without the other.
Moreover, after having shown the desire in a very concrete way with Missthe filmmaker is, on the other hand, in total restraint with Decision to Leave. The modesty of a filmmaker perfect mastery of his art. Which by a comic plan refers to the violence of a Korean police often pointed fingers. And who doesn’t need to use shocking images and excesses of feelings or to seek emotion excessively – which doesn’t prevent sublime staging proposals and remarkable shots. Here, a simple sentence will end up overwhelming, provided it is heard and understood. Because how not to be touched by this love of one, which begins when that of the other breaks? Tragic and symbolic poetry of Park Chan-wook in all its glory.
Decision to Leave by Park Chan-wook, in theaters June 29, 2022. Above is the trailer. Find all our trailers here. The film was presented at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival in official competition.