Film Review: The Handmaiden
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Seo-Kyung Chung & Park Chan-wook. Novel by Sarah Waters
Cinematography: Chung Chung-hoon
Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, Jo Jin-woong
Country of Origin: South Korea
Time: 144 Min.
Park Chan-wook is back and he's better than ever! The Handmaiden is a decadent dessert that is luscious, super kinky, and full of deceit! Adapted from Sarah Water's novel, Fingersmith, Park takes the essential elements and transports the setting to the 1930's Korea when it was under Japanese colonialism. A con man hires an orphaned pickpocket named Sook-hee played by fresh-faced, Kim Tae-ri, to become the maid to heiress Lady Hideko in attempt to steal her wealth. The plan goes array when Lady Hideko falls in love with Sook-hee. I'm getting all hot and bothers here just writing the premise!
After the divisive reception of Stoker (See Review), I'm glad Park Chan-wook went back to making a Korean-language film that not only tantalized native Koreans but everyone else as well. Park was shocked to discover that some of the Americans that watched the film were so taken back by its provocative display of lesbian sex, contrary to his belief that most Americans are more "liberal". The Handmaiden is classic Park Chan-wook but with a more dense structure and erotic storyline that aims to beguile as well as seduce you! Once again, Park never lets me down and let's hope he never does. :D