Decide to leave abandons the brutality of Park Chan-wook’s signature style in favor of a low-key ruthlessness that ultimately goes deeper than pure violence. Hae-jun, a Busan detective played by Park Hae-il, is assigned to a curious crime scene – a skilled mountaineer has plummeted to his death. During the first 30 minutes of the film, Decide to leave offers the basis or modus operandi of a conventional detective thriller, but then we meet Seo-rae, the undisturbed widow of the fallen man played by Tang Wei. Suddenly, the conventional mystery plots are clouded by a familiar fog: a crush.
Hae-jun immediately suspects a crime, with his eyes fixed on the mysterious widow. Despite Hae-jun’s keen sensibilities, staunch perfectionism and eager professionalism, the detective’s intuitions fall aside when he loses his head over Seo-rae. Decide to leave disrupts the detective thriller’s trajectory by putting the murder aside for an even more intoxicating premise: a forbidden love story. Separated from his cold marriage and plagued by insomnia, Hae-jun’s judgments are consumed by a delirium that mirrors this unsuspecting true romance.
Decide to leave is a subtle masterpiece by Park, which weaves a heartbreaking tenderness into a murderous thriller. There’s no logical reason to feel seduced by Hae-jun and Seo-rae’s romance, but there is an undeniable and magnetic chemistry. Park does not fit the crime and asks for our support. Hae-jun’s wife, played by Jung Yi-seo, claims that he “needs violence and death to be happy”. He finds it, but the love he finds is disappearing, making for a finale that will leave you gutted. 138 minutes
Gene Siskel Film Center