south korea

Cover for Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave

By Park Chan-wook
5
Rated by Zachary C
Jan 9, 2023

A man is found dead at the base of a mountain peak.  Was it a suicide?  Could it be murder?  With the deceased's wife as the prime potential suspect, the investigator in charge of the case begins to tumble down a rabbit hole of obsession as he investigates her.  
The thing that makes Park Chan-wook's films so special, for me at least, is while other films employ dream sequences, or visions, or flashbacks, no other filmmaker uses them in a story without feeling a separation between real and unreal.  Using picture and sound, he somehow harnesses the subconscious in a visceral way.


Comparison

The Handmaiden

By Park Chan-wook
5
Rated by Zachary C
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

Snowpiercer (DVD)

By Bong Joon Ho, Director
4
Rated by Jed D.
Mar 7, 2015

Snowpiercer is South Korean director Joon-ho Bong’s over-the-top action movie that will leave few viewers without strong opinions.   Set in 2031, an environmental catastrophe has frozen Earth and the few surviving humans live on a train.  One percent of the train’s population lives in luxury near the engine, while the remaining humans are essentially slaves, working to ensure the survival of the entire train.  The starving, brutalized, and scared workers plan and execute a revolt after many of their children are taken to the front of the train for mysterious reasons.  Can the passengers in the

Please Look After Mom

By Kyung-Sook Shin
5
Rated by Megan C.
Jan 18, 2015

This best-selling novel by South Korean author Kyung-Sook Shin takes a piercing look at how we treat those closest to us, and what it means to be a wife and mother. Told from four perspectives, the story examines the aftermath of the disappearance of “mom”. Some of the narrators speak in the unusual voice of second person, which serves to make the narrative more personal.


The narrators’ revelations are often poignant but can be uncomfortably honest, creating a family portrait that might serve to make the reader painfully aware of his/her own family’s foibles, but also of the strength of