Park Chan-Wook (“Oldboy”) has perfected the police procedural, with a twist.
Park’s Cannes award-winning noir film “Decision to Leave” has already topped critics’ lists following its festival premiere and is officially South Korea’s Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film. The love story stars Park Hae-Il as a detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains while being transfixed by his elusive widow, played by Tang Wei. The film opens in theaters October 14 from Mubi.
Park co-wrote the script along with Seo-kyeong Jeong, and won the Best Director award at Cannes. “Decision to Leave” was a Palme d’Or contender, before the prestigious honor went to Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness.”
Park, who has helmed “Stoker” and “The Handmaiden,” told Screen Daily that he “always wanted to do a different kind of police film,” and views his entire filmography as telling romance stories regardless of genre.
“I wanted to make something classically refined and fairly quiet where, of course, the characters’ emotions are swirling internally, but on the outside they are quiet,” Park explained. “The process of thoroughly investigating a person, getting to know them through one thing after another, is a sort of dating for them. The conversations they have – very dry and with many things hidden – are a sort of process of having closed-door conversations with dual meanings.”
Lead star Tang, who is Chinese, worked with two bilingual tutors to exact nuance within her Korean dialogue. Eventually, she also re-recorded using ADR, working double time.
IndieWire’s David Ehlrich praised Tang for playing her dodgy character with a “deliciously uncertain purpose,” adding to the mysterious nature of the feature.
“What starts as a rather open-and-shut case, however, soon evolves into something much richer, as Park leverages the killings (plural!) into a gripping investigation of a mystery that no police department could ever hope to solve: How does a romance survive between two people whose only hope for a future together depends upon them leaving the past unresolved?” Ehrlich penned in his A- review.
Up next, writer-director Park will helm HBO’s “The Sympathizer” starring Robert Downey Jr., having written four out of the seven episodes as of print.
“Decision to Leave” premieres in theaters October 14.
Check out the trailer and poster below.