Fantastic Fest ’22! Theater Diva Caroline Cao Reviews Decision To Leave, A South Korean Romantic MysteryBy Caroline Cao | October 4, 2022 | Entertainment
Theater Diva Caroline Cao reviews Decision to Leave, a South Korean romantic mystery, for Fantastic Fest.
Park Chan-Wook‘s Decision to Leave is a tragic love story, told with a gusto of laughs until the final punch.
When Korean detective Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) investigates the death of a mountain climber, he suspects foul play committed by the latter’s widow, a Chinese woman named Seo-rae (Tang Wei). What results is a tango between an inspector’s pride and a femme fatale’s schemes.
Although it is not as dazzling and sumptuous as The Handmaiden, Chan-Wook keeps the tension delicious like a tree of forbidden fruit, as the inspector becomes drawn closer and closer to Seo-rae. Chan-Wook and editor Kim Sang-bum make a dance out of the cuts, sometimes transporting Hae-jun into the fantasies of aromatic closeness to her. Or they accentuate a physical gag, like the investigator harriedly climbing a mountain, or Hae-jun shaving as he speed-drives to Seo-rae’s place.
As their attraction grows dangerous, it interferes with Hae-jun’s professionality and the mysteries. As for Seo-rae’s heart, it’s difficult to read from afar. But her attraction to the inspector is genuine in ways that propel her scheming and a final tragedy that also doubles as her triumph.
Decision To Leave arrives in theaters on Oct. 14.