The Handmaiden

Cover for The Handmaiden
Park Chan-wook
5
Friday, Jun 8, 2018

The Handmaiden, a Korean film adaptation of the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, is the newest film from one of the most daring directors in cinema.

The plot follows a Korean woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress as part of a plot to defraud her of her wealth. It is a classic con, but is subject to a bevy of twists and turns, as the handmaiden develops feelings for her mark and everyone has their own designs on the situation.

Misdirection is accentuated as the movie replays many of the major plot points from alternating perspectives: the heiress, the handmaiden, and the con-man. While it might seem redundant to relive parts of the movie you have already seen, each major player's shifting motivations and unique perspective paint events in a unique and fresh light as layers of deception are slowly peeled back. It is quite amazing that a scene you have already witnessed, with a slightly altered perspective, leaves you with the realization you had no idea what was really at stake upon first seeing it.

This film is in Korean and is extremely dark with a lot of mature content. But, like much of the director's other work; Oldboy, Stoker, etc. there isn't much else like it.

Zach C

Written by Zachary C

Fun fact: My cousin saw Tom Hardy once