“Decision to Leave” Review : A Amazing but Incredibly Complicated Romantic Drama!

Decision To Leave is about a detective who obsessively loves a suspect. That’s like saying Last Year at Marienbad is about a man and woman who meet at a hotel. In Park’s first film since 2016’s The Handmaiden, details abound. The South Korean director drops tantalizing clues that are best analyzed in multiple viewings, which will be very helpful.

His visual inventiveness emphasizes Detective Hae-(Park Joon’s Hae-il) longing for the black widow Seo-rae (a captivating Tang Wei from Lust, Caution). The more Hae-Joon learns about Seo-rae, the more mysterious she becomes, leaving the viewer questioning what they see and hear. Park uses Seo-possible rae’s crimes to tell a story that is coolly restrained yet roiling with suppressed desire.

Park’s work is rarely coolly restrained. Here, he replaces the gonzo violence of 2003’s OldBoy and the hothouse eroticism of The Handmaiden with profoundly felt emotions that remain forever unexpressed through shifting visual points of view.

Hae-eyedrops Joon shows that everyone’s perception can be clouded. He’s Busan’s youngest inspector. His wife (Lee Jung-Hyun) lives in Ipo, so they only see each other on weekends. She tells her husband, “You need murder and violence to be happy,” and he gets it when a body is found at the base of a vertiginous rock.

As Hae-Joon begins his investigation, Park makes fun of his meticulous and thorough nature, but his need for certainty clashes with his irrational heart when he meets the dead man’s widow. Seo-rae fled China years ago.

She often says her Korean is “insufficient,” which makes her seem unreliable. When Hae-Joon sees her husband’s initials branded on her torso, Seo-rae goes from pitiful widow to prime murder suspect.

Park’s clever use of technology shows how smartphones can create distance and bring people together. She uses Google translate to communicate with Hae-Joon, further separating them. A phone app later destroys Hae-Joon.

Park overplays his technological hand with a cell phone that contains so many text messages and voice notes that it almost swallows the film. Park, who never holds an audience’s hand, cheekily asks Hae-Joon, “Why don’t you answer me straight? So frustrating!

After Seo-rae is cleared, the pair continues to see each other, often at his Busan home, which has a wall of cold case photos. Hae-obsession Joon with Seo-rae is based on the idea that she’s a mystery he can’t solve. Seo-rae sees Hae-Joon as her protector, someone who will treat her “like a suspect” Park, working with cinematographer Kim Ji-Yong, is always inventive to convey abstract ideas, such as when Hae-Joon interacts with Seo-rae in her apartment while watching her from his car or calling her.

13 months later, Hae-Joon is transferred to Ipo to live full-time with his wife. We wonder if Seo-rae moved to Ipo to escape Hae-Joon when they run into her with her new husband. Or approach him? Hae-Joon is forced back into Seo-seductive rae’s orbit when the new husband dies. Park enjoys the visual and thematic

Hitchcockian possibilities. He’s helped by Cho Young-gorgeous wuk’s score and, most importantly, his two leads. Their precision movements express their intense connection, as in a masterfully staged interrogation scene that ends with Hae-Joon and Seo-rae finishing their lunch and wiping the table like a long-married couple.

Park spins an intricate web where everything has its place, even seemingly unrelated moments like the rooftop chase and Hae-tasty, Joon’s if not authentic, Chinese food for Seo-rae. The tragic ending of Park and Jeong Seo-dense, kyeong’s twisty script is more intellectual than emotional.

The Decision To Leave expands Park’s skill set. The film is a (for Park) reserved drama about a man corrupted by a woman he knows everything about.