Andrew’s review published on Letterboxd:
*Note: I am attempting to write this review less than an hour after leaving the theater. The current time is 1:00am, which may also impact my already terrible writing.*
A perfect marriage.
Not the marriage between the character that's at the heart of the story. It get far too complicated to call "perfect". The perfect marriage I am referring to is union of plot and style. Park Chan-wook has combined his formable fashion of directing movies, with a newly found penchant for storytelling.
The Handmaiden is an erotic (some will say perverted, and maybe they are right) thriller set in 1930's Japan. One con-man and one con-woman set out to grift a wealthy shut-in whose would be incestious uncle is nearly holding her captive, along with an extensive library of rare, exotic books.
The story takes on an unexpected triptych structure, which makes space for multiple subversions of your expectations as the film plays out.
The film is glorious to look at (I'm speaking here apart from the explicit and ample sex scenes). I want to write about the various elements of the filmmaking craft; lighting, framing, camera movement, but I have no critical opinion after only having just seen this, and having only seen it once. I have no complaints. Everything was perfect. I'm holding out the last 1/2 star until I see this again. Which I hope to do so real soon.