1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions.Written by
For the theatrical release of the film, the subtitles were color coded to differentiate the Asian languages spoken throughout the film. White subtitles were used for Korean while yellow subtitles were used for Japanese. See more »
The Count uses a propane gas lighter. That was impossible in 1930. See more »
Blue is the Warmest Color + Oldboy = The Handmaiden
Not the craziest film content wise, that award goes to The Neon Demon, but definitely the craziest film storytelling wise. Park Chan-Wook's The Handmaiden is almost as good as the film that put him on the map, Oldboy, and brings such ferocity and energy that it will be one of the most unforgettable films of 2016.
Think of The Handmaiden as The Duke of Burgundy F'd Up Edition. This film is pretty twisted in the most unexpected ways from the cinematography that is very reminiscent of Possession in that it always keeps moving, eroticism that is reminiscent of Blue is the Warmest Color, performances as spellbinding as Carol, and the insanity of Park Chan- Wook as expected.
The cinematography is some of the most entrancing of the year. Shots that look like they came out of The Master. It's shots like these that make me wonder how was this even possible? It looks so damn cool!
The performances are perfect in sucking you into this world of erotica, selfishness, and trickery. Both female leads were fantastic. Min-hee Kim and Kim Tae-ri are amazing with sharing their sexual tension with the audience watching. It's films like these that are the most memorable. Making you feel how ther characters are feeling. Jung-woo Ha and Jin- woong Jo were great as these sexually and financially repressed men who do the most screwed up things to feel the pleasure they so desire. Nothing wrong with the cast at all.
Of course Park Chank-Wook hits it out of the part with directing. How else would this immaculate vision be done without him niche for detail. He always knows exactly what to do to get an emotion out of his audience and I applaud him for that.
The only negative is that during the middle briefly the pacing slows down a lot and it became really unbearable because I wanted to know exactly what was going to happen next. Thankfully it doesn't last that long and it's really minor that probably won't affect others viewings.
If you have any interest in The Handmaiden or you've just heard about it for the first time I strongly suggest checking this out as soon as it comes out. I'll definitely re watch it when it releases in theaters. Easily one of the best films of the year and one I hope to re watch soon.
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