The Handmaiden

2016 drama

Rating: 17/20

Plot: A crook and a pickpocket conspire to rob a rich lady of her fortune.

This was recommended by Cory, likely one of the most challenging and strangest things he's ever thrown my way. It's the latest dark and twisty drama from Chan-Woo Park, and I think it might be his best. It's hard for me to name something specific about it that is completely original or innovative, but as a whole, it feels completely original and innovative.

I don't want to say much about the characters or the plot, and that's for two reasons. First, I'm lazy. Second, the less you know going in, the more I think this will work for you. There's some violence and some kink, and that's all I really feel like saying about that.

Park organizes the story in a way that enhances the characters' relationships and interactions. It's told in three chapters. The first two overlap and are from two different characters' perspectives while the third wraps things up. Again, it's not a wholly original structure although I can't think right now of another movie that does exactly this. And I definitely can't recall a movie that does it this effectively.

I also love what Park does with the camera. It swoops, almost constantly. Sometimes, those swoops are seductive, sometimes they're haunting, and sometimes they're mysterious. It's always visually poetic, and the sumptuous setting of this mansion, the lighting and colors, and the nipples are visuals you just want to completely absorb.

Man, I'm glad I found that poster up there. I thought I was going to have to use the more normal one with the four characters just standing around. I also really liked this one:


cory said...

That first poster is really disturbing. I would also give this a 17. Years ago there was a movie called "Bound" that I thought was terrific. The problem with such titillating material incorporated within an otherwise very complex film is that people might misinterpret why I was recommending the movie. You can take out most of the naughty and kinky bits of "The Handmaiden", though who would want to, and you would still have a stylish and unpredictable black comedy full of twists and beauty. I had no idea what was going to happen and I was fascinated from beginning to end. This is a hardcore feminist movie(no pun intended)that still embodies why I love movies. It's unpredictable and very unique, and is my second favorite movie from last year that sadly almost no one will see. Thanks for checking it out and I'm glad you liked it.

Shane said...

And the very dark humor! Right, I neglected to mention that.

I couldn't begin to put all the feminist criticism pieces together. It's also so thick with symbolism, that it's something definitely worth watching again.

By the way, I'll probably write about that pair of documentaries tonight. I want to get all caught up with my shitty writing again.