#CANNES22: “DECISION TO LEAVE” REVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore
Visionary South Korean Director Park Chan-Wook is back with this visually stunning romantic Thriller Noir.
After a man falls to his death from a mountain, Detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) meets his widow Seo-rae (Chinese Actress Tang Wei). She seems to be unaffected by the death of her husband. This causes suspicion amongst the detectives in the precinct. All signs point to her as suspect number one. But Hae-joon doesn’t believe that this mysterious woman could do such a thing. After stakeouts and an interrogation, Hae-joon becomes smitten with the mysterious Seo-rae. Now he must decide if his feelings get in the way of the investigation.
Decision to Leave starts out as a Detective Thriller and turns into something more heartfelt. In brilliant Chan-Wook style the edits and transitions are a visual feast for the eyes. Chan-Wook makes these transitions feel like they are one continuous take. They transport our detective into another scene that is playing out inside his mind. It’s a mesmerizing camera technique that is a delight to witness. There are shots that will dazzle and make any cinephile gasp.
The first half plays out like a gritty Detective Thriller Noir. Hae-joon is on a mission to find who threw this man off of the mountain. It seems like he found his prime suspect but her demeanour throws Hae-joon off. He finds this woman mesmerizing. The effect she has on him is paramount and the audience understands the emotion, thanks to the strong performance from Hae-il. He looks at her like she has all the answers in the world.
That’s when this noir turns into something more romantic. A blossoming relationship flourishes between the two. In lesser hands, this wouldn’t work. However, Chan-Wook excels in this storytelling. Seo-rae has clearly lived a difficult life. She’s been abused by her deceased husband. She carries this weight with her and it’s part of the reason Hae-joon falls for her. The audience is swept-away in this romance because of the chemistry between the two leads.
It’s in the second half when Seo-rae comes back into Hae-joon’s life that Chan-Wook’s intention comes through. This is a story about two people who fall in love in the oddest of circumstances. It’s about how far someone will go to protect the one they love. Wei’s performance is one of the best of the entire decade. It’s a special one that needs to be seen to be believed. She masters the art of mystery within her character. Although some would play Seo-rae as a psychopath, Wei grounds her. She’s a person who has never received real love and care until she met Hae-joon. Due to this, she will stop at nothing to feel it again.
Overall, Decision to Leave despite being a Thriller, also is tender and romantic. It has an insurmountable performance from Wei that will not be forgotten. Additionally, it reminds us that love is unexpected, needed and selfless.
Decision to Leave screens at Cannes ’22:
Mon, May 23 at 6:00 PM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
Tue, May 24 at 8:30 AM at GRAND THÉÂTRE LUMIÈRE
Tue, May 24 at 7:30 PM at SALLE AGNÈS VARDA
Tue, May 24 at 9:30 PM at LICORNE
Wed, May 25 at 9:30 AM at CINEUM IMAX
Thu, May 26 at 12:00 PM at CINEUM AURORE
#CANNES: 2022 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW
The 2022 Cannes Film Festival kicks-off Tuesday, May 18, 2022 and runs till Saturday, May 28, 2022. This will be our first official year at the Festival as our Amanda Gilmore will be on the French Riviera covering the Festival!
Returning to its traditional May slot, the Festival serves as a major precursor to what we might see Awards Season later this year. But timed perfectly, some huge Blockbusters like TOP GUN: MAVERICK and Baz Luhrmann‘s ELVIS will be getting their chance to premiere before the world. Many eyes will be on Openight Night film Michel Hazanavicius’ FINAL CUT, David Cronenberg’s Athens-filmed CRIMES OF THE FUTURE and Closing Night selection SHOWING UP from Director Kelly Reichardt.
Amanda previews for us her six-most eagerly-anticipated titles of the Festival.
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
Canada’s David Cronenberg is finally back at Cannes and is bringing Kristen Stewart, Lea Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen with him. Crimes of the Future takes place in the not-so-distant future where the human species adapts to a synthetic environment, the body undergoes new transformations and mutations. In a recent interview, Cronenberg said he’s expecting walkouts at the Festival screenings. This only makes us want to see it more! It will compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or.
DECISION TO LEAVE
After spending some time making television, Director Park Chan-wook has returned to Film with Decision to Leave. It’s a mystery thriller that follows a detective who falls for a widow after she becomes the prime suspect in his latest murder investigation. We are fans of Chan-wook’s prior films such as Oldboy and Stoker. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for Decision to Leave. It will compete for the prestigious Palme d’Or.
We have been waiting for this biopic of Elvis Presley for some time now after production was halted at the beginning of the pandemic. Finally, it will be having its world premiere at the Festival and we couldn’t be happier. Baz Luhrmann is bringing his dazzling direction to the Rock Legend’s life and he’s assembled quite the cast. We can’t wait to see Austin Butler become the man himself and Tom Hanks’ portrayal of his manager Colonel Tom Parker.
THE SILENT TWINS
This Film tells the true, eerie story of twin sisters who were entirely silent, communicating only with each other as children. As teenagers, they became obsessed with writing fiction, then with teenage boys, and finally, with crime. It’s Written and Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska and stars Letitia Wright as both sisters. It will screen in-competition for the Un Certain Regard Award.
THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING
Writer-Director George Miller is returning to Cannes for this Fantasy Romance starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton. It follows a lonely scholar on a trip to Istanbul who discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. What she wants is love, but can and should he grant it to her? We can’t wait to see what epic journey Miller brings us on this time.
Actress Riley Keogh is making her Director Debut with War Pony. She Co-Directs with Gina Gammell and the Film is based on real events. It follows the interlocking stories of three Lakota men living on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The three tales explore the concept of belonging: a child belonging to a family, a man belonging to “America,” and an elder belonging to his Tribe. It will screen in-competition for the Un Certain Regard Award.
Stay tuned for our coverage and bookmark this link for updated Reviews and coverage!