A mysterious Chinese woman Seo-rae 瑞萊 involves in a case where her husband was found dead. A detective started to investigate and suspect she’s the murderer. But the target looks too pretty and suspicious at the same time. Anyone would fall for her, who wouldn’t? Turns out, this case remains unsolved.
Minor spoilers ahead.
Update on Fri, 29 July: I watched it for the second time. I’m pretty sure I grasp most of the details, even the tiniest ones. But I’d tell you don’t try too hard on looking for clues. Because it will spoil the experience. Just enjoy the film as it is.
This is the second South Korean movie I watched at the cinema this month. Equals to the past four—maybe five—years combined. Most people chose to watch big titles because they think they’re worth the time and money. Well, I don’t blame you. But I’m tired of CGI movies and Marvel Universe already. So, recently I skipped quite a few popular ones. This time, I try to introduce you to more options to broaden your taste. In case you miss some of the best hidden gems because of the language barrier. I can tell you sometimes Asian films are more than meet the eyes.
In Decision to Leave, Seo-rae’s (Tang Wei) dangerously charming and you kind of wants to protect and get to know her. She’s a victim and murder suspect; mysterious and beautiful. That’s why any man would fall for her. I’m kind of having the same empathy for her just like the detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il). She’s cunning and manipulative and you’ll somehow be intrigued by her. The main characters are attracted to each other and Seo-rae doesn’t want the case to end. The highlight of the entire film was the struggles and tension between the two. If you want to meet her again, you gotta wait for another murder to happen.
The film managed to get you curious enough to look for answers. Makes the audience want to solve those mysteries together. It’s a bit dragged in the middle and I can feel the entire house—people sitting behind me being impatient. I felt the same. At one point, I thought the film is going to end. Apparently, it wasn’t. But it was saved on time as the plot goes on, when the detective Hae-joon approaches the truth. They’re falling in love with each other but yet to admit. I feel a bit sad at the end. Just like you lose something and your heart missing some pieces. I guess the film hits my weak spots.
I noticed that the camera captures tons of characters’ gestures, body movements and facial expressions. Those tiny details could tell a lot and add to the story besides the script. I don’t think I’m able to catch them all. I was worried about Seo-rae from the beginning to the end. This means the actress did a great job at that. The interactions between our main characters are the best part of the entire film.
Tang Wei 湯唯 is truly the Oriental beauty. She’s lovely and pretty. I blushed a little when she looked at the camera like she’s examining your soul. In my opinion, she deserves more attention than Zhang Ziyi. I watched the film mostly because of her performance in Lust, Caution (2006) by Taiwanese director Ang Lee 李安. The actress can speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean. I will definitely add movies that she’s in on my list.
Some side notes, Seo-rae once told Hae-joon that she doesn’t like mountains because afraid of heights, but prefers the sea. There’s a saying from Confucius: “仁者樂山，智者樂水”, literally “The virtuous find pleasure in hills; the wise find pleasure in water.” She spoiled the ending at the very beginning. The name of the detective Hae-joon 海俊, “Hae” means sea or ocean. The first case happened at the top of a mountain. In the end, it’s on a beach named something like Lion’s Rock Coast. This is very poetic and matched the theme “mountains and sea”. They’re lost in the “Mist”—the granny favorite Korean old song. Also, the director embraces technologies like Apple Watch and make use of it heavily. Tang Wei speaks Chinese and Korean languages and it causes some confusion at times.
Overall, I like the film. Everything is beautifully done: the cinematic, acting, and music. The scenery look stunning especially at seaside. The director tells the story in a way to get you emotionally attached to Seo-rae. Tang Wei deserves more than a prize. I will recommend it to people who like thrillers and dramas. I hope the language barrier won’t stop you from watching the film. Keep in mind that some of the English subtitles might be Lost in Translation. For your convenience, here’s the Official Trailer, on TMDB and IMDB.
See you next time!
The film combines thriller, crime, and drama packed into a romance story. You can’t tell you’re being empathetic to Seo-rae and want to cover up for her; or you want her to be arrested. It blurs because of love.
Watched in Cinema
- Park Chan-wook 朴贊郁
- Tang Wei 湯唯, Park Hae-il 朴海日
- Crime, Drama
- Release Date
- July 2022
This is #Day39 of #100DaysToOffload.
- I didn’t bother to even watch the trailers from any action flicks recently, such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Jurassic World Dominion or Thor: Love and Thunder. I write this down for the record. ↩︎