freddie_kayy’s review published on Letterboxd:
FILM NO.3 OF LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2016
"Why did the taste change?"
I am in Lesbians with this movie, it's fair to say.
The Handmaiden, is a three part BDSM, tentacle porn, woman on woman sex, romance, mystery extravaganza epic from Chan-wook Park, and I am trying my very hardest to find a single thing wrong with this movie apart from a barrier of rewatchability that may prevent certain viewings with certain people. Disclaimer, DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM WITH ANYONE YOU ARE FAMILY WITH, YOU WILL BE SO DAMN UNCOMFORTABLE.
In the same way that A Clockwork Orange can be respected as a classic and yet never see the light for a second viewing, The Handmaiden will fit very comfortably into this specific category. By that, I mean that such a taboo, unorthodox and lewd film will be loved to pieces and yet put to the side due to it's incredibly explicit nature.
Now, unknowingly, The Handmaiden is based of a book called Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Park has done an excellent job of telling me that maybe if he helmed such films as Fifty Shades of Grey...he could've made it more critically appreciated? I don't know, I haven't seen Fifty Shades, but this is very the same flavour. It seems impossible to believe, but every single shot in this film tells us something new and amazing to be revealed. A complete scripture of self-desire, a complex back and forth of who's tricking who, the colonial period in which it's set managing to give the whole old-fashioned 'who dunnit' vibe. The lingering evolution of this film from reading Shunga (Japanese Erotica) to becoming a more beautifully free Shunga itself. A determination by the narrative to make sure that all dirty stories must be shown, because for a 1930's set period, sexual women are below the sexual men.
Oh, speaking of other films as well, I heard Blue is the Warmest Colour has a very lengthy sex scene, so any fans of that particular moment should find closure in your interest here.
Abuse, torture and everything sex sex sex...this is a 'jade-palace' of erotica wrapped in a drama-mystery blanket, and I loved every second of it.