Park Chan-wook established a reputation for himself by making cult masterpieces and promoting his nation’s film industry before Korean cinema and culture swept the western hemisphere. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Lady Vengeance, his 2002–2005 “Vengeance Trilogy” that revisited the European vengeance picture with the backdrop of 21st century globalisation, made him a well-known director and festival mainstay.
The auteur proceeded to produce a significant body of work for the following fifteen years. In addition to producing Snowpiercer by Bong Joon-ho and writing The Truth Beneath by Lee Kyoung-mi for other illustrious Korean contemporaries, he worked on the TV adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel The Little Drummer Girl. He also developed his own projects, such as the chilling Stoker or the critically acclaimed The Handmaiden. Decision to Leave, which he released in 2022, marked his comeback after eight years. Since its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, when it won the Best Director Award, one of the most highly regarded movies of the previous year has continued to garner accolades.
The movie, like many of his, carefully conceals its secrets before eventually revealing them when viewers least expect it. The slow-burning plot’s many similarities to Alfred Hitchcock’s plots render any predictions of what will happen meaningless because it will ultimately turn out to be something completely different. As a result, the movie’s ending can be unexpected and unclear; to help clarify, here’s what happens.
What Is Decision to Leave About?
An insomniac yet cool police detective named Jang Hae-Joon (Park Hae-il) is looking into a man’s death in Busan who may have fallen from a mountain top. The deceased’s wife, Song Seo-rae (Tang Wei), draws his suspicions more and more. His attraction to her, along with his mistrust, causes him to lose focus as he thinks about another murder investigation and his estranged wife, who must live elsewhere owing to her job.
Every night, Hae-Joon monitors and stakes her home. Seo-rae starts to respond to his desire as he develops an increasing obsession. He settles the investigation after becoming sure that she is not the murderer as they get closer. Now that this is past, it is simpler for them to become more sentimentally connected with one another, but Hae-important Joon’s finding drives them apart. He moved to Ipo to live with his wife about a year later. He now works at a police station that primarily deals with local drama and stolen goods, dealing with relatively few high-profile crimes. He is exhausted and depressed. When a now-remarried Seo-rae shows up in Ipo, Hae-Joon is once more entangled in a web of lies and conflicting emotions.
How Does Decision to Leave End?
At the conclusion of the first act, the investigator learns that Seo-rae really did throw her husband off a mountain top as part of a carefully thought-out plan, leaving him broken and hopeless. He steps away from her, feeling as though his integrity as a cop has been compromised. He hands her the phone she used to ascend the stairs back and instructs her to throw it away.
The story is repeated when the action shifts to Ipo. When business investor Im Ho-shin, Seo-new rae’s husband, is found dead at his house, Hae-Joon becomes obsessed with pursuing her as the prime suspect.
A man quickly makes his confession to the murder. Sa Cheol-seong committed the act because the deceased had cheated his mother, costing her millions of dollars. Additionally, he maintains Seo-innocence rae’s by installing a tracker on her phone to keep tabs on her whereabouts in case he decides to harm her husband through her. Hae-Joon confronts Seo-rae when they cross paths on a mountain in an effort to learn more about her true motivations for visiting Ipo and determine if she was involved in the latest murder. She informs him that Ho-Shin found a phone tape in which Hae-Joon confesses his love to her but he is unable to remember it. His wife leaves him when he gets home because she thinks he’s been having an affair with Seo-rae.
When everything appears to be completely calm, Ho-phone—which Shin’s his wife had tossed into the water so that the previously stated recording wouldn’t reach Hae-wife—is Joon’s discovered by Hae-Joon. He discovers Seo-rae and his mother met at the hospital the day his mother passed away after having Sa confirm it. He comes to the conclusion that she slipped fentanyl pills that were kept in her apartment since Sa had earlier threatened to kill Ho-Shin if his mother passed away. He pursues her to a beach where the phone was left in her car using Sa’s tracker. Seo-rae excavates a pit in the sand in a remote area of the beach as the tide is coming in, entering it, and allowing herself to be buried and drowned. Upon his arrival, Hae-Joon screams and yells for aid but is unable to locate her.
What Does it Mean?
Seo-choice rae’s to pass away at the film’s conclusion fulfils the romantic promise of this improbable love in the most devastating way. She finally decides to terminate her life for a very deep cause at the end of a road after her love interest has once more provided evidence that she has either committed murder or, more specifically, that she has assisted in murder.
When he initially learned about her death, he became distraught, depressed, and compelled to leave Seo-rae. She loves him so much that she can’t allow this to happen again. “Your love stopped the instant you told me you loved me. Your love ended, and my love started at that same instant. Seo-rae refers to the moment he left Busan and she started wishing to be with him in her final words before she walks herself to death. Hae-Joon seldom expresses his affection for her outright, but when he asked to throw the accusatory phone into the ocean far from land, she understood him. Seo-rae fell completely in love with him after he let her go and granted her freedom.
She paid great notice to the fact that all of his unresolved cases are posted on a corkboard when she first started visiting his flat in Busan. Every time a case is resolved, it disappears from the corkboard and from his memory; it ceases to exist in his heart and mind and becomes a memory of the past. Seo-rae now understands there is no way out and that she too will be a closed case. She can only think of one method to express her love and desire to be in his life, and that is to turn into an unsolved case. Like the phone he wanted her to destroy, she lets the tide drown her and buries herself deep so that no one can find her. She will now always be in his heart and memory as her love cries out for assistance at the top of his lungs.
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