The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden ★★★★

"Women love to play with fate."

I really didn't know what to expect from this film and I wasn't ready for what I witnessed in this beautifully shot, twisty, sexy tale of betrayal in a sumptuous period setting. I've only ever seen Oldboy from Chan-wook Park so I was game for a movie that fit that sort of aesthetic. It's definitely overlong and there are parts that drag and make you feel that length, which is a bit concerning as far as a rewatch. But everything associated with this movie, from the meticulous sets to the wonderful visuals to the great performances gave me many things to remember and the plot kept me guessing with its many changes and double-crosses.

I might not be so over-the-moon as some are about this film, but I enjoyed it on its surface and its flaws have to do with pacing and perhaps writing/plot that didn't really click for me. The romantic angle that develops in this movie threw me a little bit and Park shoots those scenes very delicately but keeping their inherent passion and sexiness that is really felt between the characters. It's such a multi-layered movie that it works on multiple levels, a long-winded genre description would be an erotic thriller in a period drama setting with elements of romance thrown in. Park plays with genre in this movie expertly and with the touch of an absolute master.

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