Decision to Leave

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A detective’s burning desire leads to fatal consequences in master director Park Chan-wook’s newest film, a playful noir-inspired drama that alternately plays out as a murder mystery and a romantic tragedy.

A mountain climber has fallen to his death, and detective Hae-jun is put in charge of the investigation. The climber’s wife, Seo-rae, is called in for questioning, and suspicion of her involvement in the death quickly arises. Hae-jun also takes a more personal interest in the beautiful widow. This interest turns into desire and threatens to become an obsession. 

Decision to Leave is yet another masterful, intricate crime drama from director Park Chan-wook. Park received the Best Director Award when the film premiered at the Cannes film festival in 2022, and deservedly so: Though Decision to Leave feels subdued compared to the cinematic fireworks of films such as The Handmaiden (2016) and Oldboy (2003), it overflows with imaginative visual and narrative devices. 

This is unmistakably a Park film, even as film noir tropes and especially Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo emerge as prominent sources of inspiration for this story of a detective spellbound by a mysterious (and dangerous?) woman.


Park Chan-wook (b. 1963) is a director and producer from Seoul in South Korea and is among the country’s most recognized filmmakers. He has directed a large number of feature films, shorts, and TV series, and had a major international breakthrough with Oldboy in 2003.


2016 The Handmaiden
2013 Stoker
2009 Thirst
2003 Oldboy
2000 Joint Security Area

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