Cinema has told a love story a thousand times, and many of them have started with a blind date. In 2022 everyone knows someone who has dated a person on Tinder. The first meeting is always the same. Both people go to dinner, sit at a table and wonder things. What do they work for, where are they from, what have they studied, their friends… What is the difference between that appointment and an interrogation? Perhaps none, in fact, perhaps a police office is the best place to discuss a flirtation, since the rules governing such encounters seem the same.
The idea, as brilliant as it is crazy, is at the heart of Decision to leavethe new wonder of Korean director Park Chan-Wook, the same one who revolutionized cinephilia with oldboy, with Tarantino declaring his love in such a radical way that even the filmmaker himself said that he was going to see his own movie again to see if it was as good. Since then he had delivered a few more than notable films, such as The maid. Even his dalliances in Hollywood have always been interesting takes on dark thrillers like stoker or the television adaptation of the play by John Le Carre The girl with the drum.
With Decision to leave delivers one of his best works, a thriller as dark as it is entertaining that works with frightening precision. Despite its 138 minutes, the rhythm that Park Chan-Wook prints to the story of a policeman obsessed with the suspect of having thrown her husband from the top of a mountain is so brutal that one can not even stop to breathe or to look at the clock. It is a cinema as entertaining as it is personal, a modern version of Vertigowith its suspicious women and its mysteries that open up like a matryoshka, revealing a new layer each time.
What lifts Park Chan-Wook’s film above other notable thrillers to make it an unmissable date is the director’s ability to consistently come up with innovative, original and surprising visual decisions. The film never exhausts its arsenal of resources. None of them creak, they’re not aesthetically forced, but one never stops wondering how the director came up with so many visually powerful ideas. It seems like a top-class magician’s show that leaves his audience speechless, but yes, without putting himself above what he tells, always keeping both at the same level.
all in Decision to leave borders on perfection. The assembly, frenetic, creating tension and hammering the nerves of the viewer; the music, the use of sound, the excellent photography and the two great performances that sustain this impossible love story, beautiful and also sick. His twists are not always surprising, but they are in the right place to mutate his story to another place and not let the audience settle in the seat, but always keeps them as an active part of the experience.
A thriller that puts the level of the Official Selection of Seminci in a place that is difficult to surpass. However, something happens to Park Chan-Wook at international festivals, where he pockets ‘minor’ prizes but never gets the bigger ones. With Decision to leave it competed again in Cannes and, although it was probably the most rounded film in the Official Selection, it settled for the award for Best Director. The Palme d’Or resists him. not even with old boy, absolute cult title, he succeeded. She was left with the Grand Prize of the jury and had to see how 9/11 Fahrenheit, Michael Moore’s documentary was made with one of the most discussed palms.
In 2009 he returned to compete for Thirstwhich won the Jury Prize in an edition that won unanimously white ribbon, by Michael Hanke. In 2016 his absence from the list of winners was criticized. It left empty in an edition in which the decision of the jury, chaired by George Miller, was questioned in a stark way. They decided to give his second Palme d’Or to Ken Loach for I, Daniel Blake, leaving without prize The maidbut also to other notable titles such as Tony Erdman either Elle.
Now he is competing for the first time for the Golden Spike at Seminci with this story that, for him, is nothing more than a romantic film, because “people show how they really are when they are in love”, as he said at the Cannes press conference this year. There he began his international journey in which he will compete for the Oscar for Best International Film, since he has been chosen by South Korea to represent them in Hollywood. At the moment all the pools place it as one of the great favorites to enter the finalist quintet in a year where the competition -with Alcarràs included- is spectacular and the level is much better than that of US cinema.