Tuesday Timeshift #12: Thirst

Can’t be bothered reading an entire review? Check out my Haiku Film Review. Otherwise keep reading!

A vampire flick from Korean director Chan-wook Park, this is a genre film that stands up to the best of them. It avoids the obvious cliche’s but instead plays up to them – there is no religious intervention, the vampire IS a priest; in a nod to the coffin, at one point the priest hides in a bedroom cupboard flipped on it’s back on the floor; the priest isn’t bitten but infected during a medical trial; he isn’t a killer but must feed or die so he only drinks if it is freely offered and never to death.

Eventually the nature of the vampire takes hold of course and the lusty priest takes a mate, Tae-joo. She is fiery, angry and takes complete ownership of every scene. She’s a fabulous victim turned vixen. In one exquisite scene, in a blindingly white white white interior of an apartment, she struts all arms and legs in an electric blue dress and stillettos; vicious, powerful and brilliantine against the monotone background. Gorgeous!

Where it falls down is in the middle. There’s so much plot shoved into it’s 133 minute running time that it actually gets a little boring about halfway in. Where it needed to ramp up, it slows – gets bogged down in the character building of Tae-joo. Park should have (apparently I’m the voice of wisdom for all film-makers *snigger*) short-handed how miserable her life is so we can get to the bit where she becomes wonderful and terrible.

In the Korean style, it’s a beautiful film to look at. I love the Korean films we get here in Australia. Even with a genre film, they never treat the script or the cinematography as irrelevant. Details are attended to and from the films I’ve seen so far, including this one, there is a strong visceral sense. Space is given to let the the small details speak, like the scary quiet that springs from nowhere when standing alone in the middle of the road at 3am.

It’s funny, it’s gleeful and a teeny bit slow but, whatever! Loved it.

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