Decision to Leave is directed by Park Chan-wook and stars Park Hae-il and Tang Wei. After Detective Hae-jun (Park Hae-il) investigates the apparent suicide of a man in Busan, he becomes enthralled by the man’s widow, Seo-rae (played by Tang Wei). While he visits his wife every weekend in Ipo, Hae-jun begins a strange relationship with Seo-rae that jeopardizes his case, career, and marriage.
I had questions for Hae-jun because it really didn’t take much for him to fall for Seo-rae, as though he had been waiting for a reason to escape his marriage. At some point in the film, Hae-jun’s wife notes that he gets sad when his life is peaceful and that he needs murder and violence to be happy. I think this aptly describes Hae-jun and explains the reason for his decisions which drive the story. He is drawn to danger; it is why he works as a detective and why he begins a relationship with Seo-rae, even though the viewer can see fairly early on that that can’t end well.
The film looks incredible, and the actors provide some amazing work within it. Tang Wei especially does such a great job of infusing her character with so much innocence that it seems fake, and we don’t know if we can fully trust her. With its beautiful shots, amazing performances and mysterious story, Decision to Leave is compelling and charming right till the end.
Decision to Leave is not playing at TIFF ’22. For screening information, click here.