The Handmaiden

LetterboxD review link

What Carol might have been if Marquis de Sade had written it. I was so enamored by the set design, photography, acting, and (sometimes hard to follow) dialog of this film that the twists and turns almost all caught me by surprise. Which is really the kind of high from good story telling and film-making that made me fall in love with it in the first place.

Some of the extended sex scenes felt over-indulgent, a feeling that reminded me of Blue is the Warmest Color. Unlike Blue, though, there was something more sinister about the depiction of female love here. It felt more “male-gazy,” but was not so bad as to be entirely off putting.

Ultimately, this film represents a major accomplishment for Park Chan Wook, whose Oldboy has appropriately been canonized in the world of thrillers (while Stoker was less successful). He pulls off a masterful story, keeping his audience rapt the whole way through, as if in the tentacles of some sort of highly literate octopus.