Somewhere in the middle of Decision to Leave, I dozed off.
Not because the film was bad, quite the contrary, but because I had hiked a little in the hot sun to get to the cinema behind Gwanghwamun, and because I had a glass of wine for lunch. So when I woke up, I panicked a little, wondering what I missed. Did the inspector and the widow do it? “Did what?”, you asked. Did what two ‘lonely’ souls are expected to. Now what would they be?
Park Chan-wook’s track record is so stellar that he can get away with murder, or anything he wishes. The cinematography/mise-en-scenes are magnificent, but you already expected that.
Park is a master of confusions, and you will be wondering more than 10 times if he is/was really in her house, if this happens, if that happens. There are many clever devices, one being the use of voice translator on phone to address the issue of ‘misunderstanding’.
Now take my advice – don’t be so hung up about the truth. How has Tang Wei not win another big acting award is a mystery in itself. Park Hae-il can match her in all aspects too.
In several interviews, Park credited Fog/Mist, a popular Korean ballad written by Lee Bong-jo as the inspiration of his film. So things are never clear, and very much dependent on perspective, on when you are seeing it, and on how you want to see it.
Sometimes, all it takes is a breeze or a change in wind direction to blow the mist away.
Perhaps one is supposed to watch Decision to Leave multiple times. But will you be more enlightened after a few viewings?