The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden ★★★★★

(Disclaimer: This film is an erotic thriller.)

Park Chan-wook has proven his unique skill for raising this cross- genre movie into the art arena. I have to say that the skill and degree of art craft is so high that it’s difficult to be anything less than entertained.

This is a period piece set during the 1930s Japanese occupation of Korea. It focuses on swindler Count Fujiwara and his hiring of trained pick pocketer Sook-hee to impersonate as the maid of wealthy Japanese heiress Lady Hideko.

The storyline’s intricacies wraps over itself through flashbacks. While navigating through, you’ll discover shifting of your own viewpoints especially as it unravels more and more. At the nucleus of its plot is the fervent sexual attraction that ensued between heiress Lady Hideko and her maid Sook-hee.

The movie is on the fringes, if not in it, of adult softcore thematic domain. A sexual scene is perhaps one of its focal points that only catapults into a vantage point of hidden viciousness and macabre horrors. It’s a very riveting plot.

Chan-wook formulated this elegantly crafted period piece cinema with such gorgeous aesthetics – the shots, the beautiful settings, locations, and the colors. Everything blended perfectly like one big moving picture of tapestry.

“The Handmaiden” is best appreciated and comprehended as a broad genre with a distorted and unorthodox love story that one could only anticipate to discover from this fine filmmaker, Chan-wook.

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