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Cop thriller "Decision to Leave" brings shivers of lust and intrigue

Decision to Leave

Starring Wei Tang, Hae-il Park, Go Kyung-pyo, Lee Jung-Hyun and Yong-woo Park. Written by Park Chan-wook and Seo-Kyeong Jeong. Directed by Park Chan-wook. Now playing at TIFF Bell Lightbox. 138 minutes. STC

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of 4)

Park Chan-wook’s neo-noir about an obsessed cop and a widow of deadly suspicion operates in the misty realm between sleep and wakefulness. The cop, played by Park Hae-il, is an insomniac homicide detective who isn’t easily fooled, except perhaps in matters of the heart. The widow, played by China’s Tang Wei (of Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”), seems far too sanguine about her mountaineering husband’s death. I felt shivers of “Vertigo” and “In the Mood for Love,” plus an intense desire to see it again. Park encourages such close inspection: every frame is like a painting, with hints to character motivation and plot twists. "Decision to Leave" won Park the Best Director prize last May at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it had its world premiere. It's a superb cat-and-mouse story and one of the year's finest films. (Originally published in the Toronto Star.) 🌓

—Peter Howell


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