Love does humorous issues to individuals. But if you’re a married cop investigating against the law, falling in love with a main suspect makes issues additional convoluted. That’s what occurs to South Korean officer Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) whereas he’s investigating the dying of a businessman in what seems to be a mountaineering accident. The second he meets the useless man’s Chinese spouse, Seo-rae (Tang Wei), one thing stirs in him that quickly grows to be a kind of obsession.

The indisputable fact that Hae-jun works in one other metropolis, Busan, whereas his spouse stays in Ipo provides a little bit of pressure to their marriage although his spouse (Jung Yi-seo) clearly adores and dotes on him. She attributes her husband’s gloomy temper to a scarcity of pleasure (learn: violent instances involving dying). Perhaps there’s some fact to that however clearly, Hae-jun is an astute detective who loves the crime-solving side of his job. When we see him, nevertheless, he’s affected by insomnia which appears to be made worse by the fixed commute to work by means of foggy roads. Is he affected by mind fog attributable to overwork or stress? Or is his repressed emotions for Seo-rae clouding his sound judgments?


I LOVE the premise of this romance-whodunit from Park Chan-wook, who’s acquired a repute for creating violent thrillers due to Oldboy and his Vengeance Trilogy, in addition to darkish sexually-charged ones like Stoker and The Handmaiden. I used to be launched to his work by way of Stoker, which is kind of violent for my style, and The Little Drummer Girl miniseries.

I learn in an article that Chan-wook decidedly subdues the graphic violence and sexuality on this one to attraction to broader audiences, as in somebody like me who’d be averse to one thing too gory. There’s a heavy Hitchcockian noir vibe right here, particularly with a stupendous lady on the middle of the story. But his inspiration actully got here from the Swedish detective novels Martin Beck from the 60s, actually, per IMDb, his pitch was “what if Martin Beck fell in love with a suspect?


I gained’t go into particulars in regards to the plot as it is a movie that’s finest to expertise realizing as little as potential. What I can say is there’s a mesmerizing high quality to how every part unfolds. The dynamic camerawork with the zooming and crossfades method and beautiful cinematography by Kim Ji-yong provides to the movie’s riveting power. The degree of workmanship and artistry of the movie simply astounds me… the scenes on the mountain are particularly dazzling, and I really like the dream-like high quality that reinforces the sense of enigma even additional.

The approach Chan-wook toys with our sense of place and time will be each irritating and fascinating. At instances it’s exhausting to decipher whether or not the 2 leads are literally collectively or not at a given second however I believe that’s by design. In an age of on the spot gratification and hypersexualized media, the chaste nature of their affair feels refreshing and intoxicating. Akin to Jane Austen interval dramas the place each stolen look or illicit hand contact exudes sexiness, there’s one thing so beguilling about Hae-jun and Seo-rae’s simmering ardour.


Great casting all the time makes all of the distinction and each Park Hae-il and Tang Wei are wonderful right here, boosted by their sturdy chemistry collectively. The mild-mannered Hae-il internalizes every part, however his physique language speaks volumes that this case and being with Seo-rae is messing together with his head. Wei is magnetic and alluring because the femme fatale on this fashionable noir. Her come-hither look feels pure and never manufactured, and he or she makes use of it effectively. I’ve shortlisted her because the prime 5 Best Breakout Performers of final yr although she’s had over 20+ movies beneath her belt.


Seo-rae is a seductively lovely lady, however there’s extra depth to her character and Chan-wook subverts our expectations of such an archetype. The indisputable fact that her character is Chinese and he or she struggles along with her Korean, continuously counting on the interpretation app on her cell phone, makes her human and by some means relatable. But the language barrier complicates the case as issues simply get misplaced in translation. As an immigrant dwelling within the US the place English shouldn’t be my mom tongue, I believe it’s sensible to include that language miscommunication side right into a homicide thriller.

Decision To Leave is South Korea’s official submission to this yr’s Oscars within the ‘Best International Feature Film’ class. It’s really a travesty that The Academy failed to acknowledge this movie, which might’ve even been worthy of inclusion within the Best Picture class. It’s really among the best of 2022, and I’d say the identical in regards to the astounding rating by Jo Yeong-wook that I’ve highlighted right here. I’d even boldly say I like this one way over Parasite, a movie I recognize however unlikely to look at once more. It’s acquired every part one would need in a neo-noir… it’s fashionable, mysterious, heart-wrenching, and romantic, with a surprising finale I didn’t see coming. It’s additionally one of many best-looking movies I’ve seen this yr and one I’m eager on watching once more at some point.

4/5 stars

Have you seen Decision To Leave? What did YOU suppose?

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