Decision to Leave (2022)

Title:  Heojil kyolshim

Year: 2022

Genre:  Crime | Drama  |  Mystery |

Runtime: 139 min

Director:  Park Chan-Wook

Starring:  Park Hae-il, Tang Wei, Lee Jung-hyun



An insomniac detective, Hae-Jun, works in Busan and only sees his wife, Jung-An, a nuclear power plant worker residing in Ipo, once a week. Hae-Jun and his partner Soo-Wan encounter a case where a retired immigration worker, Ki Do Soo, is found dead at the foot of a mountain he often climbed. They interview his much younger wife, Seo-Rae, an emigrant from China who works as a caretaker for seniors. They suspect her because of her insufficient displays of grief, a scratch on her hand, bruises on her legs and torso, and a tattoo of Ki’s initials in the manner that he marked his other belongings.

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The Korean film Decision to leave by Park Chan-Wook doesn’t achieve the same greatness the experienced director has had in the past. Even if the story of a police officer and a suspect in a murder case is involved in s romantic relationship, the slow-paced drama, and mysticism of the core premise drag down a fully-fledged story with potential. Thus, we already know the controversial relationship beforehand, so it doesn’t come off as a shock factor. It is what lies between the lines and scenes that are the real gold mine in a film that tries hard to imitate a romantic story.

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They’re also munching a lot in the film and, like many other Asian films, the symbolism is both subtle and significant for the story. Another element that seems recurring is the care for an elderly relative or citizen. The soundtrack is surprisingly good with adding the subtlety necessary to add to the emotional drama. Sure, it is not a classic soundtrack but is still memorable.

The performances are equal to the light expectations. The best part of the film is the relationship between the two lead characters that have a deep dynamic of feelings for each other once the major twist is revealed, it is clear how the actors understand their character and express that in a fulfilling way. The editing is another breakpoint that never loses track of the story and cuts rightfully to enhance the drama or the emotional bits of the story. It’s a story that is not afraid to intercut thoughts from characters or adds a new point of view to keep the interest up.

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It’s not a violent film, but talks about mature themes and shows an interest in cop life. It has suspense and romance, but it is more for those who seek a story with more subtlety and mysticism than a straightforward narrative.


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