DECISION TO LEAVE
(director/writer: Park Chan-wook; screenwriter: Jeong Seo-kyeong; cinematographer: Ji-yong Kim; editor: Sang-beom Kim; music: Yeong-wook Jo; cast: Tang Wei (Seo-rae), Park Hae-il (Hae-jun), Go Kyung-Pyo (Soo-wan), Lee Jung-Hyun (Jung-an); Runtime: 138; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Park Chan-wook; CJ Entertainment/Moho Film; 2022-South Korea-in Korean & Chinese, with English subtitles)
“Influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The great South Korean director Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”/”Stoker”) elegantly helms a seductive Hollywood-like thriller about an insomniac and hard-working unhappily married Busan cop, Hae-jun (Park Hae-il), and an alluring Chinese woman, Seo-rae (Tang Wei), an enigmatic murder suspect of her mountain climber husband that the cop is investigating. The abusive husband died in a hiking accident.
The lonely investigator, despite married to Jung-an (Lee Jung-Hyun), is obsessively attracted to the widow suspect, as the plot resolves around whether she did or did not kill her husband. The two main players in the course of many encounters engage in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.
The miffed cop transfers to Ipa, a rural district. Some 13 months later while with his wife he meets again the femme fatale, Seo-rae, in a public market and she introduces him to her cheerful new husband. She has also relocated to Ipa.
The crafty script, touching on crossing moral lines over an unrealistic romance, is co-written by Park Chan and Jeong Seo-kyeong, and is much influenced by Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
It’s only misstep is at 138 minutes it runs too long. But it moves along at a brisk pace. It’s a film worth seeing more than once.
It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 7/4/2022 GRADE: A-