Weekend Movie: The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden from 2016 (Director: Park Chan-wook, Writers: Park Chan-wook and Chung Seo-kyung Based on the Book Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, Stars: Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, and Kim Tae-ri, Runtime: 145 min)

Set in Japanese occupied Korea, a conman hires a pickpocket named Sook-Hee from a family of con artists in an attempt to execute his plan to run off and marry her an heiress. From there he would steal her inheritance and commit her off to an asylum. The pickpocket will pose as the heiress maiden, helping to cajole the woman into believing him a worthy man. The heiress, named Hideko, lives with her uncle who collects antique erotica. He has Hideko read it for aristocrats before selling forgeries. Sook-Hee and Hideko start falling for each other, creating complications.

Park Chan-wook is one of the most celebrated directors around, not just in his home country but where cinema is loved. He is the man behind Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst and the American film Stoker. If you’ve seen any of these movies you know the man can build tension and suspense. He also knows how to get the best from his actors and this film would have been less without its actresses Kim Min-hee as Lady Hideko and Kim Tae-ri as Sook-hee. These two women play off each other and the conniving conman Count Fujiwara played by Ha Jung-woo so well. The two ladies scenes together are so crucial to the development of the story and they make you believe. The film moves with twists and turns and while some you might see coming it does not soften the punch.

These is a reason this is one of the most talked about films of 2016. If you can check it out.


About CM Towns

I like comics, wrestling, and other junk.
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