Decision to Leave
Originally published on Letterboxd on 08/18/22
As with most of Park's oeuvre, this is mostly an impressive formal object that I can admire from a distance but from which little else can be derived. That being said, however, its focus on kineticism and constant rhythms as a means of abstraction is riveting in the moment, especially in how virtual interfaces are projected across characters' faces in crossfades that bridge voyeuristic fantasy and mundanity. The manifestation here of internal monologues as diegetic sound imbues every conversation between Tang Wei and Park Hae-il with tangible precariousness- once the seed of an idea is planted, this externalisation of suppressed sensuality ensures that the idea is followed through to fruition, no matter the consequences.
The way in which Park seems to utilise the structure of the procedural as a conduit to experiment with different archetypal modes of the detective genre is, at least initially, a compelling thread of inquiry. It begins as a taut noir laced with a fundamental alienation from one's professional/ontological position (à la On Dangerous Ground), and imperceptibly evolves into something much more resoundingly and sweepingly tragic, with the natural environment becoming a diorama for the warring of two lovers (recalling L'Avventura). Park's approach to capturing this transition may be too clinical to derive more than merely a spectre of the heartrending melodrama buried somewhere here, but at the same time, it is rarely anything short of enrapturing.