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“Decision to Leave”: the return of Korean Park-Chan Wook in a somewhat confusing film noir, best director award at Cannes

Park-Chan Wook received the Best Director Award at the 75th Cannes Film Festival in May for Decision to Leave coming out Wednesday, June 29, a film noir in the great tradition of thrillers. A third Cannes award, after the Grand Jury Prize in 2004 for old boythen the staging price for Third in 2009. This time he blurs the tracks a little too much, at the risk of losing the viewer.

A meticulous detective in South Korea, Hae-Joon investigates the death of a man, victim of a suspicious fall from the top of a mountain. His suspicions focus on his wife, Sore, who destabilizes him with her charm. He will go so far as to clear her before losing sight of her. Years later, transferred to another city, the police officer investigates the death of Sore’s new husband…

Park-Chan Wook surfs in his films on genre cinema, thriller, fantasy or melodrama, diverting codes while renewing them. Very meticulous in his sophisticated staging, his sumptuous images share a unique charm, always elegant, with sometimes brutal and scathing asides. Fond of complex constructions, he however convolutes a little too much the story of Decision to Leave, in atmospheres artificial by excess of sophistication.

Solitary and meticulous, his detective gets too involved in his investigations, he deserts his home and neglects his wife who will not resist it for long. Sore senses the detective’s flaws and won’t struggle to put him on his side. She knows that he knows, even if a doubt remains. Sore sticks to the guns of the femme fatale without being too venomous, doing just enough to confuse the investigator. Both will leave feathers there.

The plot itself is quite simple but Park-Chan Wook lays out his story like a puzzle; the sequences follow one another without any real link and using different temporalities. If solicitation of the public to go up the wire can be an asset, it boils down to an exercise in style, certainly aesthetic but which hardly moves.

The poster of "Decision to Leave" by Park Chan-Wook (2022).  (FILMS BAC)

Gender : thriller
Director: Park Chan Wook
Actors: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Go Kyung-pyo
Country : South Korea
Duration : 2h18
Exit : June 29, 2022
Distributer : Film Tray

Summary: Hae-Joon, a seasoned detective, investigates the suspicious death of a man on a mountaintop. Soon, he begins to suspect Sore, the deceased’s wife, while being unsettled by his attraction to her.

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