Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave
Director: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Tang Wei, Go Kyung-Pyo, Park Hae-il
Genre: Squid-free

Decision to Leave is probably a gripping crime thriller with an intense and complex interwoven love story. It probably features outstanding actors and is likely to be extremely well-written and directed (Park Chan-wook won best director at Cannes this year). But I’m not Korean and Decision to Leave is.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the film and don’t appreciate its excellent qualities. Yet it became clear to me early on that not only was I likely missing subtle nuances because I was speed-reading the fast-paced subtitles, but I was most likely also not picking up political sub-plots and some social commentary. I suspect this is the case for plenty of other Korean (and other international) entertainment I’ve watched, such as Parasite and Squid Game to name the best known and most recent.

It makes me realise that foreign viewers of Australian films are likely to miss the Australian cultural elements of our films too. Think Crocodile Dundee, Mad Max or The Castle.

So, it is worth seeing Decision to Leave. It’s the official submission of South Korea for the Best International Feature Film category of the 2023 Academy Awards after all.

But when odd things happen that don’t make sense, like obscure mentions of China, gangster actions that just seem odd or personal activities you can’t relate to, just take it in your stride. The film is certainly interesting, the story is multi-layered and the performances are all great.

And if you’re still frustrated by any of the missed subtleties then just wait for the inevitable, and not as good, Hollywood remake.

Rating: Four Kimchi





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