“The wise love the water, the benevolence the mountains.”
Director Chan-Wook Park, whose previous work includes Oldboy and The Handmaiden, has now created his latest stunning film Decision To Leave. It’s about a detective, Hae-Jun, played by Hae-Il Park, who is investigating a case about a man who falls to his death while rock-climbing a mountain. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Or is his wife the main suspect? Hae-Jun begins to investigate if the man’s wife, Seo-Rae could’ve done it.
But as his investigation picks up, his infatuation with her grows.
Hae-Jun begins to buy her premium sushi boxes while interrogating her at the police statin. He stalks her from his car while she’s at her apartment eating ice cream for dinner. He texts her at night outside by his car while his wife sleeps in their bed.
If she is guilty of the murder, will he turn her in?
Led by a career best performance by Tang Wei, Decision To Leave is breathtakingly beautiful to watch. The premise of a detective falling for a suspect isn’t anything new, but its witty screenplay is at its best. At times it feels like there’s too much information happening at once that it’s hard to follow. The editing could’ve been tightened a little more to keep the focus on Hae-Jun and Seo-Rae, rather then focusing on unnecessary second-hand police cases. The central relationship is the reason why Decision To Leave is so compelling. And why it succeeds.
Love can be very complicated. It can be difficult to understand. It can lead us to do things that we normally wouldn’t do. And it can sometimes be the decision to leave.