Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave

Hae-Joon, a seasoned detective, investigates the suspicious death of a man on a mountaintop. Soon, he begins to suspect Seo-rae, the deceased's wife, while being unsettled by his attraction to her.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
  • Stars: Tang Wei, Park Hae-il, Lee Jung-hyun, Park Yong-woo, Go Kyung-pyo, Jung Yi-seo, Lee Hak-joo, Jeong Ha-dam, Lee Yong-nyeo, Jung Young-sook, Kim Shin-young, Park Jeong-min, Yoo Teo, Go Min-si, Seo Hyun-woo, Yoo Seung-mok, Kim Do-yeon, Jeong So-ri, Shin An-jin, Cha Seo-won, Joo In-young, Choi Sun-ja, Jin Yong-uk, Choi Dae-hoon, Kim Mi-hwa, Kwak Eun-jin, Ahn Seong-bong, Kim Gook-jin, Kim Sang-hyun
  • Director: Park Chan-wook
  • mrwildgoose - 19 February 2024
    Opposites attract
    Mountains and seas, cops and criminals, fog and clarity, togetherness and solitude, but most importantly, deceit and manipulation versus integrity and uprightness. But it isn't so much a conflict, as a confluence. At it's heart, it's about hearts.

    People fighting for a precious love in ways that they only know how. Either through deceit, or conversely, through self sacrifice.

    Apparently, the movie is inspired by a song from the sixties - 'I walk alone, along a misty road' - and the song perfectly describes the core of the movie.

    A romance doomed from the start, but for which they give up their all.

    "I like you because you're so upright".. despite it all. And I like you because you shattered yourself for me, despite it all.
  • ZeddaZogenau - 3 November 2023
    Neo Noir Thriller by Chan-wook PARK
    South Korean cinema has been doing everything right for two decades now. Master director Chan-wook PARK (Silver Palme 2022) tells a sophisticated neo-noir story that has it all.

    An insomniac inspector (Hae-il PARK), who has a weekend marriage with his wife (Jung-hyun LEE) (he in Busan, she in Ipo), investigates a bizarre murder/accident. An experienced mountain climber (breathtaking: Mount Geumjeongsan near Busan) has fallen to his death. His very young and beautiful wife from China (classic: Wei TANG) quickly comes under suspicion...

    You have to see for yourself what happens next. Just this much: PARK has studied film history conscientiously and subverts it so cleverly with its own ingredients that you can only be amazed. How do you turn HITCHCOCK's VERTIGO upside down? PARK shows the audience this masterfully. The oddities that are obligatory for South Korean films are also used: Be sure to keep an eye on the cute turtles!

    The actors are great, especially Wei TANG, who we know from LUST / CAUTION by Ang LEE. The language barrier between Korean and Chinese also plays a big role, something that gets lost in the German dub. That's why my second viewing will definitely be the original version with subtitles. A word about the (spiritual) landscapes shown in the film: I have already praised the beautiful mountain, but Hakampo Beach also plays an outstanding role. Breathtaking!

    Oh yes, and of course there is also a bizarre chase in the pretty mountainous Busan. It's a rogue who doesn't think of the South Korean classic THE CHASER...
  • joebloggscity - 12 January 2023
    Hitchcock homage which just misses the mark for me....
    The title is one that could easily end up writing its own obituaries, but what we have is another clever film from the Korean master taking us on another emotional roller coaster.

    We have a Hitchcock style murder mystery, where we have a workaholic detective going through a midlife crisis, and finding himself obsessing over a femme fatale. He's a bit weak, and in over his head.

    It's quite a long film, but really you'll keep engrossed despite there not necessarily being many moments to jolt anyone. It's more a parable on life and obsession, whether she committed the murder seems to become a McGuffin.

    As you would expect from the incredible Park Chan-Wook, for any film buff there are lots of great film shots and settings that will intrigue, as this film pays homage to comparable old films from 1970s and 1980s in its visuals especially Vertigo. Really it is sort of a neo-noir (lite)!

    However, I have to admit that I found this underwhelming. I've been a big admirer of the director since the early days, but this one hardly challenges enough or intrigues enough. The film was fun with great humour peppered throughout, and I loved the two leads.

    It is clear to me that many professional reviewers have given this a bump-up due to the director, when I'm sure a fairer review would be a little less praiseworthy. That's not meaning its deserving of flak, but more it's nothing special. The director had an aim to make a Hitchcock line film, and as much as he has achieved it in part, as a whole it is likely far from the target he probably wanted.

    It's worth a viewing, and a welcome addition to the director's stable of films, just not one of his strongest efforts.
  • Jeremy_Urquhart - 26 December 2022
    Well-made and kind of baffling
    This one shattered my brain, I gotta be honest, especially in its second half.

    As far as the technical side of things are concerned, it's exceptionally well-made.

    I think at least some of the confusion and discomfort I feel is intended by those behind the film, but I have no idea how much. Revisiting this at some point might help me better understand the film, or better articulate my feelings.

    For now, I'm at a loss. Despite that, I will say that Decision to Leave never bored me, and it was an exceptionally good looking film (plus the lead performances were strong).

    But yeah, for now, I'm worried I didn't really get what it was going for or trying to say, and did find it to be incredibly confusing and even a little frustrating in parts.

    I'm not afraid to admit when a movie like this goes over my head, but I hope in the future (whether by reading up on it, thinking more about it, or rewatching it), I can get more on its level.
  • ryanpersaud-59415 - 14 December 2022
    A Sordid, Powerful and Thought Provoking "Love Story"

    That is how Decision to Leave will leave you after the music swells and the credits roll. This is easily the most effective, devastating, powerful love story I've seen in a while. It has its issues - it's a bit too long, some characters needed a lot more TLC (I'll get to that later) - but even with this in mind, Decision to Leave is one of the best films of the year.

    Following a sordid affair between Detective Jang (Hae il Park) and Song Seo Rae (Tang Wei), a Chinese immigrant suspected of murdering her husband, Decision to Leave goes in directions no one would expect. It takes its time with the narrative, every frame is gorgeous and brimming with emotion, the story is told in a way that takes your mind a second to understand (sometimes), and its all in service of conveying love, lust, and desire.

    Like many of PCK's films, Decision to Leave asks the central question about what type of love people really want. Do we want stability, safety, and steadiness? Or, do we prefer excitement, intrigue, and passion? What is morally wrong: to chase after someone who ignites that feeling inside of you or to stay with someone even though the love has clearly faded? PCK doesn't really moralize or give an answer, just puts the thought out there.

    This is one of the sexiest films I've ever seen, yet, unlike PCK's other films, there's hardly a naked body in sight. Wei and Hae Il's chemistry is off the charts; when they are in a room together, there's intense sexual chemistry but so many barriers to the romance ultimately blossoming. Even though you know that what they're doing is wrong (Detective Jang is in a clearly passionless marriage), you can't help but want to see these two lovers succeed.

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there's a whole murder mystery in this film, a brilliant one that has a brilliant conclusion. That's how good this movie is. And one more thing, it's EXQUISITELY directed. I am saying it now - 2022 is the year I've been more impressed with cinematography than any other. Decision to Leave has shades of 70s era filmmaking, with long takes and aggressive zoom ins, off kilter editing, and very wide shots. I couldn't take my eyes of this movie. The way it tells its story is so novel and interesting.

    As much as I love this movie, I do have some issues with it. I wish it was a tad shorter and more tightly told as a story. I also wish there more depth given to Detective Jang's wife; there was an opportunity for a lot more drama and I would've really liked to see him confront her. I get that their marriage is lacking passion, so perhaps it makes sense, but it felt a bit unsatisfying.

    I also - and this is just me - do miss the violence, the sex, the steaminess of PCK's earlier films. I wish Decision to Leave had a sex scene or two. That's not me being creepy; PCK does a phenomenal job with these type of scenes, conveying how characters truly feel about each other. Maybe it's a Western bias (there are definitely things Mandarin or Korean speakers will pick up that other viewers won't too), but I think that aspect of the film was lacking.

    Overall though, Decision to Leave is a great movie and I can't wait to watch it again.
  • paul-allaer - 26 November 2022
    One of the best films of 2022
    As "Decision To Leave" (2022 release from South Korea; 139 min) opens, the body of a mountain climber is found. Was he pushed or did he slip? Detective Hae-Jun leads the investigation of this "unaccountable death without witnesses", and his first target is the surviving wife, Seo-Rae, an emigrant from China without much outward signs of any grief... At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie.

    Couple of comments: this is the latest from writer-producer-director. Park Chan-wook, who previously brought us "The Handmaiden" and "Stoker", among others. Here he brings us what at first appears to be a murder mystery, but it isn't long before the movie morphs into something different altogether. The movie is super plot-heavy so the less said about it, the better. Just watch! I will say that the movie's overall tone and atmosphere is transfixing from start to finish. The photography on location in Korea (thankfully staying away from the usual suspect Seoul) is outstanding. But in the end it's all about the movie's powerful storytelling, a trademark of many of Park's previous films.

    "Decision To Leave" premiered at this year's Cannes film festival to immediate critical acclaim (and Park winning the festival's "Best Director"). The movie is currently rated 94% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and for good reason, I am already going on record that this film without a doubt will get a "Best Foreign Film" Oscar nomination. The movie opened at my local arthouse theater here in Cincinnati this weekend, and I couldn't wait to see it. The early evening screening where I saw this at on the day after Thanksgiving was attended so-so (I counted 10 people including myself). I can only hope that as word of mouth gets around, along with the expected year-end award nominations coming out, this will garner wider attendance. If you are in the mood for a top-notch foreign film that starts out as a murder mystery but evolves into something else altogether, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
  • firoozh - 10 November 2022
    Overall does not work
    For a film with this length, Decision To Leave is neither very romantic or a crime Drama. I didn't buy the romance. Chemistry between the two main characters is dismal and shallow. In many cases we don't want to admit that our favorite director's latest work is not as strong as his/hers previous work. It definitely needs second viewing to make sense of the plot, although as the viewer you know what's going on. Performances are alright but I was never convinced that the woman was so irresistible that the dedective had no choice but to fall in love with her. Maybe subtitles don't do justice to script but I've seen enough Korean dramas to compare strong dramas from the bland ones like this. I left the theatre after two and half hours without any strong feelings for the characters and I am sure I will forget them soon.