Cinema Clips: The Handmaiden

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For a good part of its running time, director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Thirst) seems to have made a relatively tame movie by his standards with this latest offering.

A young woman (Tae-ri Kim) is recruited by a scam artist (Jung-woo Ha) for a robbery plot involving another young woman (Min-hee Kim) and her uncle (Jin-woong Jo). The movie happens in three parts, and it plays out like a simple mystery-thriller for some time. But, hey, this is Park we’re talking about, so there’s quite the likelihood you will see some severed penises and octopuses by film’s end.

Yes, this one goes delightfully off the rails and winds up being another gonzo great from one of cinema’s nuttiest directors. The movie goes from being a standard thriller to a darkly comic statement on sleazy men and their icky porno, or something like that. Park makes a damn good-looking movie (every shot in this film is a freaking masterpiece), and all of the participants, especially the two Kims, are excellent in their roles.

What’s so great about Park is that you never really know what you are going to get, and what you get is usually a fun/sick surprise. He will always be one of the more daring men to get behind a camera and call the shots.

After seeing this, you’ll want to avoid the basement at all costs in the near future. Don’t watch this with your mom, any kids, or any members of the clergy.

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