Sunday, November 11, 2012
Directed By: Chan-Wook Park
Written By: Chan-Wook Park & Seo-Gyeong Jeong
Based on the Story Therese Raquin by Emilie Zola
Cinematography By: Chung-Hoon Chung
Editor: Jae-Beom Kim & Sang-Beom Kim
CAST: Kang-Ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hae-Suk Kim
Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh.
This is why Chan-Wook Park (OLDBOY, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGENCE, LADY VENGENCE)is becoming one of my favorite directors. Taking a typical genre film and wile keeping it in that genre and having the same pleasures and excitements it can bring. Also plays around with it bringing out subjects and issues never really approached or thought of within the story. Making it all compelling on so many different levels.
The film is part horror, but it’s very emotional and dramatic. Dealing with passion, Obsession, Murder, Life and a thirst to have it all, That becomes consuming like a drug addiction. I applaud that the film has all these subjects to deal with and the different levels it finds itself in rather than just thrills, chills and violence. Like a lot of films of it’s ilk. -The film is entertaining throughout as characters motivations are revealed, learned and often changed. You begin to understand the affliction and the characters more.
The film has a powerful energy within it. That is more in the second half of the film. The first half seems to be more of an introduction it’s emotional and putting it’s stakes down for the audience to get to know the characters, elements and situations that they find themselves in. It gives you an understanding. The second half of the film as the main character has a partner. Who is more ruthless than he is. Not as sentimental and soon that is how the mood of the film becomes, Faster and less textured. Which makes the audience feel like anything can happen. The gloves are off.
What is fascinating is that while the film is filled with the supernatural. The direction, Story and mood moves in between a forbidden romance and a noir type of story and mood. So that it feels like it is mutating while the director’s style for the film is not glossy. So that you see all the blemishes as well as the prizes. The film never truly says it is a vampire film as it seeks to avoid that label and being lumped in with the cliché of those types of films. Though it might be based on that legend it changes what we believe and plays by it’s own rules. Towards the end of the film there are many intense scenes that leave you on the edge of your seat.
I like the fact that the film shows how the relationship began innocently then slowly begins to become tawdry and troubled. How the main character never realized his behavior and gifts would unleash a beast in her.
The Film I have to admit is a little too long. It could be trimmed by 20 minutes, But I don’t pretend to know where the editing could be trimming. As it feels like each moment matters and is needed to fully understand the story. They are the nuances that add up to make this film rich in a sense. This is a definite High Recommendation and Must see