Decision to Leave
Following his visually striking The Handmaiden in 2016, master filmmaker Park Chan-wook returns with madcap crime romance odyssey Decision to Leave. With no detail gone to waste, viewers will be enraptured at every turn as the Korean director takes them further down the rabbit hole in this air-tight thriller, bolstered by spectacular performances from leads Park Hae-il and Tang Wei.
Set in Busan, the film picks up with detective Hae-jun (Hae-il) obsessing over the cases he hasn’t been able to solve. He can’t sleep and his marriage to Jung-an (Lee Jung-hyun) is under some strain. However, everything changes when the cop is assigned to the case of a climber who fell from a cliff, as the evidence about his mysterious death starts to point to the man’s widow, a Chinese immigrant named Seo-rae. But Hae-jun is instantly taken with her, and she him. A romance is kindled, though the detective remains torn between his moral duties to his wife and the law, and this new spark of passion in his life.
Just when viewers think they have a grasp of where the plot is going, Chan-wook and co-writer Seo-kyeong Jeon throw in a dozen more curve balls that keep events moving in surprising new directions. Likewise, an off-the-wall sense of humour only adds to the enthralling narrative the filmmakers have crafted. There are occasions where the barrage of twists and turns can make this film feel a little long in the tooth. Stick with it a little longer, though, and every detail (no matter how seemingly insignificant) has a fulfilling payoff.
As with the rest of the director’s catalogue of films, Decision to Leave is astonishingly pretty. Whether the setting is the interior of Seo-rae’s house, a snowy mountainside or a shore at sunset, the cinematography gives a little bit of magic to each scene.
With its many surprises and scene-stealing performances from its lead actors, Chan-wook’s latest work will undoubtedly delight and move audiences in ways they wouldn’t expect.
Decision to Leave is released in select cinemas on 21st October 2022.
Watch the trailer for Decision to Leave here: