Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave ★★★★½

So sexy. Kind of in the way that In the Mood for Love is sexy, even if the films are really nothing alike. But we see the same dance of attraction here: the way that two people know that they want each other, but stop themselves from going as far as they want. And so, they eat sushi across from each other, and wipe up the table afterwards with an odd familiarity that is more associated with couples that have been together for years. He sweeps up her apartment, and she silently raises her feet so that he can sweep up under her.

And there is the suggestion that they are attracted to each other because they traffic in the same world of violence. He has a wife, and she seems perfectly devoted to him. But she may as well be a creature from another planet, in idle conversation talking health and wellness and the means by which humans extend their life. But he is only truly alive when he is seeking those who bring about death.

And Seo-rae knows about death, knows about standing on the precipice of existing and not existing. She arrived in South Korea barely existing, a broken shell of herself unable to speak the language. And here was a man, a detective, who could do nothing but watch her, recording her existence in his voice recordings, in his photos. She has lived her life leaving no trace, and there is this man who cannot help but investigate the smallest details of her being.

He will come to know the truth about her, and he will learn what love truly is. And love is such a destabilizing event. It makes people do crazy things. He will ask her to throw away another trace of herself, hide the evidence of her existence. And he hoped to walk into the fog and forget about the whole ordeal. But there is just no denying her presence.

I'd like to screen this as a double feature with Yasuzo Masumura's A Wife Confesses. I think that would be a fun contrast.