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Decision to Leave: Why You Should Watch Park Chan-Wook’s New Thriller



Decision to Leave from Park Chan-wook

South Korea has been one of cinema’s rising stars for quite some time. It has produced a significant number of the world’s most respected directors, including names like Bong Joon-ho, Lee Chang-dong, Kim Ki-duk, Hong Sang-soo, and Park Chan-wook. Whenever one of these master directors has a new movie coming out, the international film world will be quick to take notice.

It is no surprise then that one of the most anticipated and promising movies of the year is Decision to Leave, the first film by Park Chan-wook in quite some time. Though it will likely go unnoticed by many people in the United States because it is a foreign-language film (blame the “one-inch barrier of subtitles,” as Parasite

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director Bong Joon-ho called it), Decision to Leave is bound to be one of the top movies this year.

Park Chan-wook is one of the most respected directors in the world today, and for good reason. He first became a major name in South Korea when he released his generation-defining political thriller Joint Security Area (2000). Korean film historians consider this one of the foundational works that helped jumpstart the New Korean Cinema, part of a larger re-invigoration of South Korean media culture that has now, a little over 20 years later, taken the entire planet by storm (think BTS and Squid Game).

In 2003, Park shot to international fame with his twisted revenge thriller Oldboy, which is consistently ranked by fans abroad as one of the greatest South Korean films of all time. His movies have proven since then to be of consistently high quality, especially Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Lady Vengeance (2005), and Thirst (2009).

His last international success was The Handmaiden (2016), an erotic psychological thriller set during Japan’s military occupation of Korea before World War II. His new movie, Decision to Leave, is his first film in 6 years, and judging from the media buzz, it will have been worth the wait.

In Decision to Leave, a detective falls head-over-heels in love with a widow whose husband recently fell head-over-heels…off a cliff. She’s the prime suspect in his murder investigation. For fans of Park Chan-wook, this should be all we need to hear for us to know it’s going to be a good one.

Related: Here’s a Ranking of All Park Chan-wook Movies