Hi everyone, Bryan here….
Park Chan-wook is already a legendary filmmaker in pretty much every circle and he’s only 53 years old. With films like the original ‘Oldboy’, ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’, ‘Thirst’, and ‘Stoker’, it’s easy to say that Park Chan-wook is a master of his domain and film. Fortunately for everyone who loves film, his new movie ‘The Handmaiden’, based off ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters is not just a film, but an experience in cinema and will be forever etched in you memory for all the right reasons.
In ‘The Handmaiden‘, Park Chan-wook has perfectly conjured up a mix of a 1930’s drama, comedy, horror, suspense, and a bathtub full of sex and tentacles. Most filmmakers would have a very difficult time making a classy artsy film with these subjects, let alone, combining all of these aspects, but Park Chan-wook has done it effortlessly. Set in Korea in the 1930s, a suave crook named Count Fujiwara has hired a young woman named Sook-hee, and has trained her to be a pick-pocket and con-artist, in order to make the mysterious, strange, and very wealthy Lady Hideko fall in love, in order to taker all of her jewels and money.
Sook-hee goes undercover as Hideko’s new handmaiden in order to help her fall in love more with Count Fujiwara. Something unexpected happens when Hideko and Sook-hee end up falling for each other, much to the dismay to Hideko’s sadistic black tongued uncle. There are so many layers to this film and each of its characters that during the 145 minute run-time, you get the story basically three times, told in different perspectives, with each new look, revealing a darker and more sexual side to each character and compelling clues to the ever going mystery of just what is taking place at this beautiful estate.
Needless to say, it isn’t all puppy dogs and beautiful flowers. With some of the darker images and actions that take place in ‘The Handmaiden‘, Park Chan-wook uses his camera in a very elegant way and never in a harsh movement, making every bit of debauchery or lovemaking seem innocent. ‘The Handmaiden‘ is one of the better films in a long time and there is absolutely no other film like it.