STORY- A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.
REVIEW- The Handmaiden is a masterpiece in pretty much every sense. It is visually exquisite, costumes, production design, cinematography, music all combine to create a lush vision of Japan-occupied Korea in the 1930s. Park Chan-Wook is a visually meticulous filmmaker. And no film so far has showcased his knack for visual storytelling better than the Handmaiden. I went into this film blind, which I honestly recommend all people doing because the plot itself unfolds in such a beautifully engineered fashion.
My best description of the film is a Rebecca-like Hitchcockian thriller. The humanistic sexuality of Blue is the Warmest Colour. All actors are stunning in this film. The two women share an honest, tender romance that is both passionate and moving. With refreshing honesty about the nature of sexuality rarely seen in Hollywood productions. The Count is an incredibly charismatic performer who remains appealing despite his many despicable acts.
But as always, with a Park Chan-Wook film, the real star is the director himself. How this story is written is nothing short of fascinating. The outrageous, depraving, sexy, intriguing plot is crafted through multiple perspectives, dashing across back and forth in time. Then masterfully reveal key plot points across a never less than spellbinding two hours run time. Some would say the film is slow, but I felt as though the extended running time worked in the film’s favor. To build character to the extent that the film’s finale feels momentously epic. That’s a real feat considering the movie showcases only four key characters.