Posted Apr 12 2017

The Handmaiden - This Movie Beautifully Rocks

Dir: Park Chan-wook 

Starring Kim Tae-ri, Min-hee Kim, Jung-woo Ha

As elegant and beautiful as it is to look at, Park Chan-wook’s latest lacks some of the economy of his earlier movies. Although his fondness for a revenge story is still to the fore, even if said story is being told in a different manner than before.

What we have here – at first – appears to be a con game, But as it unfolds, it becomes a con game inside a con game inside a…well who are we to spoil?

Safe to say that when young streetwise Sookhee is recruited by bogus Count Fujiwara to becomes the handmaiden to the wealthy but troubled Lady Hideko, no one anticipates the twists, the turns, the lesbian sex and pervy uncles that ensue!

Chan-wook has a lot of fun with his movie, but he also has a lot of time to explore his central characters and shift the ground beneath their feet as what at first appears to be a straight forward takedown becomes more and more a case of re-found allegiances and a rise against the societal trappings of the day.

More than any of this other movies – apart from Stoker, with which it shares a fondness for close ups of insects – The Handmaiden takes its time, luxuriating in the wealth and the architecture it inhabits. It comes close to moving at too luxurious a pace at times, but finds itself in its very satisfactory denouncement. 


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