the fresh films reviews

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Decision to Leave (2022)

Directed by:
Park Chan-wook

Heojil kyolshim

South Korea


139 minutes

Produced by:
Park Chan-wook
Written by:
Chung Seo-kyung
Park Chan-wook

Cast includes:

Song Seo-rae Tang Wei
Det. Jang Hae-jun Park Hae-il
Jung-an Lee Jung-hyun -


Go Kyung-pyo -
Im Ho-shin Park Yong-woo -
Yeon-su Kim Shin-young -
Yoo Mi-ji Jung Yi-seo -



A beautifully shot crime-mystery with a well of noir elements and a hint of the Hitchcockian. The writer and director is Park Chan-wook, known internationally for Oldboy and the so-called Vengeance trilogy, and his free-flowing stylistic and narrative creativity in here is a testament to a filmmaker at his most privileged and assured, or should I say indulgent. The story revolves around an insomniac detective (Park Hae-il) investigating the suspicious fall and death of a retired immigration officer, which leads to the detective surveilling and soon becoming infatuated with the deceased's beautiful and much younger Chinese wife, Seo-rae (Tang Wei). Her enigmatic personality and motives combined with our protagonist's somewhat sudden and total obsession with her represents the obvious nod to Hitchcock. And while this could have been a sign of quality, Decision to Leave cannot avoid slipping into melodrama and pretentiousness once Park Chan-wook tries to weave this supposedly epic romance into the crime story in order to lift the picture up to a level transcending the sum of its parts. Although the eventual denouement has the contours of greatness, it lacks the substance and resonance it purports to have.

Copyright 01.06.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang