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
  • 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.
  • alcerto - 10 January 2023
    Park Chan-wook's is on a level of his own. Decision to Leave is a noirish romance with amazingly inventive shots, which impact and add to the narrative itself. Cinematography is predictably gorgeous and Tang Wei as the ambiguous femme fatale has the ideal face and mannerisms of inscrutable mystery. She's 100% captivating every second she's onscreen.

    Decision to Leave also has some surprising wry humor and it manages to use technology as an element to push the story forward and even makes cellphones, smart watches etc almost characters in the movie since they often have a perspective of their own and reproduce messages and voices that seem at once poignant and surprising. OST is also excellent, likewise the believable way every single character is written and interpreted by the excellent cast.

    Best movie of 2022.
  • cabri-80143 - 10 January 2023
    An improbable love comes to life at the hands of the most impressive korean director
    Park Chan-Wook is in my eyes the most wonderful living filmmaker and the true avatar of South Korean cinema. This, perhaps his least kinetic film and with a story without much fuss, is the one that has affected me the most along with Lady Vengeance (which is still my favorite).

    It is, without the need to explore too much, a love story and the contrasts necessary for a romance to be exciting. The peaceful character of one of the lovers will always find in the effervescent of the other the fuel that will keep "the flame" alive, and this idea that may seem so simple is developed in a profound, hurtful and strangely funny way by a director who dominates without too much fuss the communion between spectacular visuals and a relentless narrative. It's like having him sitting in the chair on one side telling you the story practically without breathing and enthralled by its participants.

    It is always a privilege to see one of his films in a movie theater.
  • johnpmoseley - 7 January 2023
    Kind of a mess
    An insomniac detective with an ice maiden wife falls for a woman who can offer him all the warmth, understanding and touchingly human imperfection missing from his marriage. Unfortunately, she's also a murderer.

    It's a pretty good metaphor for anxiety about opening up to feeling, but maybe not all that new: very similar vacillation between attraction and suspicion occurs constantly in Hitchcock, a clear model for this, and compared to every crisply executed instance in the master's work, this gets into awful, convoluted and tedious plot tangles. The central relationship here - a perfectionist cop who prides himself on never fluffing a case vs. A repeat offending killer who always ends up having strong justification and a hard luck story to win you over - does offer some interesting new angles on the trope, but the endless business of her complicatedly explaining away her apparent guilt becomes absurd and is, anyway, much hampered by a lack of storytelling economy.

    There's also a ton of tricksy jumping around in space and occasionally time, which is jarring and confusing and doesn't seem to me to mean much.

    Tang Wei as the sympathetically homicidal female lead is pretty great, though.
  • katcarajenncy - 3 January 2023
    Stop romanticizing toxic relationships and su*cide!
    First I would like to say the cinematography is superb in this one. The camera placement, set design and camera shots are beautifully thought through.

    What a shame that the script is just another movie romanticizing abusive toxic (and in this case also adultery) relationships and portraying suicide as a glorified exit.

    Apart from all the things wrong with a police man getting involved with a suspect, let's look at the "romantic love" that is portrayed here.

    1st normalized behavior in this movie: A married man is lusting after a woman who is not his wife.

    2nd normalized behavior: A woman longing for an already married man.

    3rd normalized behavior: If you can't have the person you are "in love with", you can't live without them and therefore su*cide seems like a heroic way out.

    This is NOT LOVE.

    This is toxic mentally abusive behavior.

    This is betrayal of actual loved ones including your wife you swore to love forever.

    The man is lusting after the "beautiful foreign woman" (who of course needed to be a foreigner, not a Korean woman *insert eyeroll*).

    The woman is made to be portrayed and seen by the audience as an innocent girl who just wanted the love of a (married) man but couldn't have him, so she sabotaged her whole life and fell into misery until she decides su*cide is the only way.

    We are supposed to be sad at the end and feel sorry for her and him?

    NO. Just NO.

    Stop romanticizing such irrational, abusive behavior. This is not normal, this is not romantic and this is not what we should teach our society (especially our younger ones) what love is.

    Side note: South Korea recorded a su*cide rate of 26, the highest among all developed nations. And an important factor is here, that su*cide is glorified and seen as an heroic act. Movies like this, won't help to solve this huge issue.

    When it comes to the story, this movie deserves 0 stars. I gave 4 because of the cinematography only.
  • Jackthemovielover - 31 December 2022
    Could be a good movie, if you speak Korean
    This could be a very good movie, but I couldn't tell from watching it in another language with just subtitles. It's a fairly complicated plot, so it's essential to present it with clarity and lots of supporting clues. It's probably one of those films that loses a lot in translation, because the nuances and connotations aren't conveyed. The principal actors did use understated facial expressions, but it wasn't enough to see a great story. The themes used- complex love stories, crime mysteries, and effects of emigration and immigration passed on through generations- have all been treated many times before. The plot was slow to develop during the first ¾ of the movie, and it compressed many key pieces of information into the last ¼. A good editor could have made the first part much more concise.

    Why this movie won awards in English speaking countries is hard to understand, as there is nothing on display here that is really innovative or outstanding, in the version with English subtitles. There were clever moments in the film, that got me thinking, "That was interesting." Apparently, the writers had a lot of good ideas, but they couldn't pull it all together into a strong plot. The clever moments weren't enough to support a basically weak story and script, in the version presented. (A good writer could have given it more vitality.)

    The film did portray at least three things well: first, the Korean film industry has enough talent in casts and crews to make great movies, if they have a great script; second, below surface differences, life is basically the same in modern South Korea and the U. S.; and third, romantic love is universal. The affair between the two main characters appeared heartfelt and sincere, in spite of their reticence.

    I recommend the film to people fluent in Korean (who can fully understand the dialogue), or to those who love murder mysteries. For others, there isn't a lot to hold your attention for over two hours. You'd be more entertained at home by a movie on streaming video. (A trip out to the theater isn't always better than staying at home, unfortunately for today's movie industry).

    Overall, I give it the benefit of the doubt and rate it a 5. If it were in my first language of English, I would rate it a 3 for lack of strength in the plot.
  • henryvic-38456 - 31 December 2022
    In the interest of recent headlines..
    A certain couple is in the news for having an affair and they're getting blasted as if affairs never happened before. Yet, that same press is praising this movie and the adultery that is committed in it. Plus the movie is overrated, and, the description of what the critics think is Cinema from this genre is Cookie cutter style, as if to say all of the movies have the same elements. By the way, this story was told before, featuring a couple like the one being blasted. The story was much better then, but again, this is not an endorsement of adultery, adultery is adultery, no matter who does it. But it would be nice, if it was said with a chest, what the real issue is, when it comes to blasting a couple, by verbally assaulting them. Against the backdrop of such phoniness, this movie was not timely. And let's not pretend everyone isn't affected by the environment. Either way, this story is average at best, and far from original. By now you figured it. Unless stated otherwise, the number of stars given is the opposite of the number of stars deserved.
  • rida_rock - 30 December 2022
    Park's Into The Mood For Love
    4 weeks later and still thinking about the ending, I don't think I'll ever recover from it, I've watched this beauty 2 times so far and it's arguably the movie of the year. I've never thought that Park Chan Wook would dare to deviate from his own theme, which centers on 3 essential elements (Sex, Violence, Plot twist) . Yet he managed to deliver such an extraordinary complex movie with a profound plot that will hit you right to the core. I could literally go on forever talking about how subtle the symbolism is in this movie, it's just pure perfection.

    Tang Wei's performance was unbelievably exquisite and probably the female performance of the year.
  • moftakharianasorimovaheds - 29 December 2022
    When you have both the story and the know how to create
    It was no surprise to me to see one of my favourite directors has created another great movie, what astonished me was the editing in this film. The transitions between scenes are phenomenal. So accurate and smooth that I sometimes paused the movie to watch the transitions again.

    Another strong point was the music, both the original score and the choice of classical music.

    They all acted fabulous, and even though with Korean movies there is always a barrier between the audience and the actors I think they did a very good job.

    Another thing that distinguishes this movie from other movies I saw this year is the attention to details. In many scenes the choice of color palette, the choice of prompts even the notebook and the wallpaper all go hand in hand to give you a sense of cohesion or better said theme.

    In the end, I cannot say this was in my top 20, but definitely in my top 100.

    Highly recommend.
  • johnwick-75102 - 29 December 2022
    Mountain and Sea
    This film is another feather to directors crown who already has proved himself with Oldboy and The handmaiden. This time with Decision to leave, director totally brought out his best in the form of symbolism and redefined modern noir. Such a fantastic idea to disquise a love story as murder mystry. Lead of film has done justice to the roles. Their chemistry and subtle delivery of emotions is well captured. With brilliant cinematography, top quality score and perfect editing this film shows its technical victory in all 2hr 15min runtime. So enjoy the deep, emotional story of The Mountain and Sea.
  • 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.
  • nikitalinivenko - 26 December 2022
    Park's Back
    Decision To Leave is Park Chan-Wook's best movie since Oldboy, but there's a caveat. The framing is pleasing, the look is good, and Decision To Leave is by far and away the year's best edited movie (seriously, that editing!). It, however, gets zero points for plot. The story is plucked right off the dusty stock shelf: A murder's committed and the detective assigned to investigate falls for the victim's Femme Fatale wife, to the point he's willing to jeopardize his career to cover for her; and no matter how much you gunk the movie with pretentious symbolism (Those safe, stable mountains! That wishy-washy sea!), if anything it makes the stock-in-trade formulaic outline more tiresome. Fortunately, the technical aspects more than compensate. It's been six years since The Handmaiden (a critical darling that, I'll be honest, I remember almost zero about, since I found it one of those boredoms so stupendous it humbles, and struggled to retain any of it) but directionally, Park is still at the peak of his prowess. A damn good movie that, though personally, left something to be desired - and seemed longer than it is (and maybe went on a bit longer than it needed to, given the aforementioned familiar plot) - is, more or less, still alright to piss away a few good hours on, especially given how long it's been since Park was last at it.

  • li0904426 - 24 December 2022
    An intrinsically romantic game!!!
    The movie "Decision to leave" metaphorically compares the loneliness of the mountains with the agitation of the sea. Through a police case, a skilled married detective becomes platonically involved with a suspect in the murder of her husband. It is clear throughout the movie that the police detective has the spiritual character of a mountain and the suspected Chinese woman is more connected with the sea. Director Park Chan-Woo, in this romantic police plot, creates a dangerous game of seduction in which closing the police case is no longer important since it would end their platonic involvement. Park Chan-Wook is very good at creating scenes where this ambiguity is latent, to the point that the meaning of "I love you" is used to protect the suspected Chinese woman.

    Technically the movie is beautiful, there are scenes where the imagination intertwines with the present, creating a third dimension.
  • brentsbulletinboard - 24 December 2022
    A Film on the Edge
    The key to making a good thriller is to offer an intriguing, twist-filled story but not one that becomes so convoluted that it becomes indecipherable. And that's where writer-director Park Chan-wook's latest comes precariously close to losing it. Mind you, the picture manages to keep itself from careening over the edge, but, in its valiant attempt to offer something more than just a prototypical suspense saga, it introduces a wide range of elements that can make following the flow of the narrative somewhat challenging at times. That's further complicated by a screenplay that tends to jump around more than it needs to, especially in the opening half-hour during that critical phase where the movie is establishing itself. Thankfully, those rough patches get smoothed out as the story goes on, enabling the film to ultimately live up to its thriller designation, even if it takes a little longer than it probably needs to in doing so. Still, this tale of a detective investigating a possible homicide who becomes obsessed with the victim's widow (a prime suspect in the case) serves up a generally compelling yarn whose title is ably reflected in many of the picture's diversely interwoven story threads. It's also refreshing to see a film in this genre play itself out with an ample amount of offbeat humor and inventive camera work, something all too infrequently included in pictures of this stripe. Nevertheless, "Decision To Leave" could have used a little more fine-tuning to make it work more effectively and more truly deserving of the many awards and accolades it has received thus far. It's a fun watch with some intriguing elements that distinguish it from its peers, but it's not quite everything it could be as movies in this genre go.