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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Decision To Leave (2022)

Long before Parasite won the Oscar, I watched it with a sort of unbridled glee and excitement at the promise of great new personally untapped talent that I could delve into and wallow greedily in. The whole of Korean cinema that I had mostly ignored up until that point, save for the likes of Oldboy etc, was an opportunity for new stories to immerse myself in.

"Killing is like smoking, only the first time is hard."

In the same breath, I think Parasite was the last Korean film I watched (Note to self - go to check 'Drive My Car' origins) until today. My horizons have not exactly been broadened, but my finger is still on the pulse often enough to know what to look out for when it hits my desk. Park Chan-wook was also responsible for the incredible Oldboy, of course, but this is quite far removed, so expecting similar will leave you disappointed.

More subtle and feeling considerably longer than it actually is, his recent work has gone to prove that Oldboy is maybe something of a splinter in the finger of his career, as like most of his other work, this is more reflective with romantic overtones, leaning toward the inspiration for the whole thing, a song (played repeatedly throughout) about being lost in the fog.

This isn't literal, however, referring instead the cloudy head-spinning feeling of new love that can easily become an obsession if not returned and the effect that such a feeling can have on common sense and the outcome of normally considered reaction to events.

Almost but quite neo-noir in my opinion, there is plenty of opportunity for over-acting but the direction keeps it all reigned in. In fact, there might even be too much of this as the film often struggles to maintain a coherent narrative. This is not helped by his propensity for jump-cuts in scenes which I found to be challenging, even if these are often sublime and innovative.

In summary, made with care and attention to detail, this is an auteur picture, of which there can be no doubt. Personally, I found it a little laboured in parts maybe too strung out for its content, but many will absolutely love it with a passion.


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