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‘Decision to Leave,’ Park Chan-wook’s Stylish and Sexy Noir Thriller, Heats Up Cannes

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24.05.2022

It’s a feature of Olympic sports-watching that, in the early heats of, say, a gymnastics final or an ice-skating competition, one watches the lesser contenders with a degree of wonder, marveling at their somersaults and triple salchows, and fancying for a second that they stand a chance at a prize—before, that is, the favorite comes on and performs a series of quadruple toe-loops with such ease, such clearly superior grace, that those first players look like lumbering clowns, and you wonder why you ever appreciated their banal flips.

The arrival of South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s latest film in the Cannes competition created a similar disconnect, in the sense that it attempts so much more than other films and succeeds in everything that it undertakes: a riot of colors, a feast of cinematic composition, with sublime edits that make one scene seem to simply melt into the next. Park’s casual acts of cinematic magic—all the delightful tricks up his sleeve that make his films so pleasurable an experience—make other artists’ films seem leaden and dull in comparison. Decision to Leave, although a flawed film (especially in its final stretch, which sheds a bit of the punchy pizzazz of the first 90 minutes), is full to the gills with a particularly giddy virtuosity, one which could see Park Chan-wook land a sizable prize by the end of the week.

Decision to Leave is best described as a revisionist........

© The Daily Beast


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