The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden ★★★★½

You can curse me, or you can steal things from me, but please don't lie to me... do you understand?
-Lady Hideko

I feel miserable after watching The Handmaiden, just like I did after the first time I saw Stoker because I'm in this void again where I don't know when the next Park Chan-wook film will come out. Park is one of the rare directors where my expectations for each of his films gets exceedingly unmanageable where I know I'm sabotaging my viewing experience, but with Handmaiden I can honestly say he exceeded all of them.

He was already one of the best directors working today, but this movie somehow shows that he's grown even more as a director, something I didn't think possible. I wish I had the writing chops to do this film justice, but I don't. It's a work of art that shows something incredibly surprising and unbelievable, that Park might not have even reached his full potential as a film maker yet.

This is storytelling at it's finest. It presents a yarn with twists and turns with perfectly timed reveals. When he keeps the viewers in the dark, it's never perplexing or confusing, only suspenseful and mysterious. The reveals are never overwhelming or overstuffed always leaving you wanting more or on the edge waiting for what will happen next. He's a master storyteller that gets better with each outing.

Aiding Park a great deal is long time collaborator/cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon in making probably his most gorgeous film yet! The cast is perfect, but the two stars are amazing; Kim Min-hee as Lady Hideko and newcomer Kim Tae-ri as Sook-hee. Kim Tae-ri especially I think I fell in love with her character within the opening moments of the movie.

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