Park Chan-wook’s Intoxicating Neo-Noir – The Hollywood Reporter

Six years after lighting a fire in Cannes with his corrosive thriller Maid, Korean master Park Chan-wook returns with a completely different work, a delectable neo-noir that has a more restrained surface but still reveals the sensual and dangerous currents beneath. While the new film reiterates procedural elements that harken back to the director’s 2000 commercial breakthrough, General security area, this is a much richer, much better detective story. Crafted with uncompromising humour, ravishing visuals, and maturity at the command, Decided to leave intoxicated with intense love, emotional manipulation – or? —And obsession.

Park is working on a style here that is both classic and idiosyncratic, his past passion for sex and violence limited to a more controlling but still often offensive terms. laugh witty. The director is doing a lot of his own thing, but his latest work also benefits from stylish nods to Douglas Sirk, at the great pinnacle of the tragedy genre and the occasional gaze. observing the character in a mirror, on a computer screen or through a fragmented screen; arrives at Hitchcock in its teasing suspense and a whirlwind of intriguing romantic mystery that recalls Dizzy especially; and even Pedro Almodóvar’s attention to how design elements can shape characters and stories.

Decided to leave

Key point

A world class artist at the top of his game.

Place: Cannes Film Festival (Competition)
Cast: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Go Kyung-pyo, Lee Jung-hyun, Jeong Ha-dam, Park Yong-woo, Jung Yi-seo, Kim Shin-young, Seo Hyun-woo
Manager: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Chung Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wook

2 hours 18 minutes

The main character is a sharp-minded detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il), who is not coincidentally a fan of Martin Beck’s novels about the fictional Swedish assassin. known for his professionalism. In a humorous illustration of Hae-joon taking things lightly, he frustrates his more impulsive younger deputy, Soo-wan (Go Kyung-pyo), by insisting follow, conversely, the path of a fallen man. to his death from the top of a rock.

That dramatic scene, with the tree growth artistically growing like a bonsai, seems to be the spectacular theatrical work of production designer Ryu Seong-hie. The misty mountains create elegant symmetry with the rocky shoreline and lapping waves closing the film.

The wife of the man who died at the foot of the cliff is Seo-rae (Tang Wei), a Chinese immigrant much younger than her late husband, who was instrumental in helping her grandfather decorate for his costume. Korea’s independence movement and promote her adoption of Korean citizenship. She seems undeterred by her loss, even when Hae-joon shows her pictures of her shattered body and smashed skull.

Starting from those first encounters, Cho Young-wuk’s broad vocal notes create stinging questions around Seo-rae, while the framing skews and his bold use of color Cinematographer Kim Ji-young also suggests she could be one of Fat Park’s other memorable women.

Hae-joon suffers from insomnia, which leaves him with frequent eye drops – one of a wide selection of personal items that he carries in tailored suits, with 12 pockets in jacket and 6 pockets in pants. Both during his interrogation and while tracking Seo-rae on related cases, he has plenty of reasons to consider her a suspect, including when she quickly returns to her job. as an elderly care nurse. “Older people live before dead husbands, with a characteristic lack of emotion,” she said.

As she unravels the details of Seo-rae’s marriage, Hae-joon is intrigued by her direct but unreadable manners, a contradiction enhanced by imperfect linguistic abilities. Her perfection in Korean. They begin spending time together in the city apartment he keeps as his base during the work week – another sleek design feature with its Hokusai-style wave wallpaper and dark wood decor – away from the house. brighter seaside family home he shares with his wife, Jung-an (Lee Jung-hyun).

Even after Seo-rae’s husband’s case is ruled suicide, she and Hae-joon continue their association. He made his version of Chinese food for her, and while she wondered about its culinary authenticity, she raved about the taste. She also began to coax him to sleep, the whispers of the sea – an important motif here – and cared for him the way she did with her elderly patients. When she discovers a wall of chilling case photos, including one of her late husband, she questions whether his inability to leave these cases unsolved is is what prevents him from finding peace or not.

Seo-rae eventually leaves the area only to return some time later, awkwardly confronting the Hae-joon couple in a market and introducing them to her new husband, the financial expert. TV Ho-shin (Park Yong-woo).

The script by Park and co-writer Chung Seo-kyung has some interesting twists as the depth of Hae-joon’s past incomplete love affair with Seo-rae becomes apparent, along with another death , this time unquestionably a murder. Hae-joon has a new female lieutenant (Kim Shin-young) with him on that investigation, whose rude demeanor contrasts with his quickness and creates a sense of humour. Likewise, a vengeful character is nicknamed Slappy (Seo Hyun-woo) for good reason, who carries elements of Park’s classic punch.

The two leads have a smoldering chemical reaction. As a cop who often speaks like a poet, Park Hae-il conveys the pull between his character’s precise sense of responsibility and the insurmountable power of his heart, while Tang Wei ( as divine as the seductive spy in Ang Lee Lust, be careful) keeps you guessing about her character until the movie influences the conclusion, when her feelings for the detective become apparent.

That tragic final act is enhanced by some of the best passages in composer Cho’s score and by DP Kim’s sense of constantly catching up, with its slick use of low/high angles. emotion. An overhead shot of the end, of the breakwater slicing through the magnificent material landscape, was an absolute shock.

As he showed in Maid, Park reached a peak in his career when his attention to the aesthetic was combined with his ability to explore the psychological timelines of his characters and discreet emotional chambers. in a way that’s both moving and playful – all while navigating the layered plots that continue to deliver surprises right through to the very end. It is a luxury to place yourself as a viewer in such capable hands.

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