By Alex Florez
Rated: R for graphic bloody violence, disturbing images, strong sexual content, nudity and language.
Release Date: 2009-07-31
Starring: Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park
Country: South Korea
Official Website: http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/film/thirst/
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Those of you familiar with South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook know exactly what to expect from his latest film, Thirst. For those of you that aren’t, allow me to introduce you to one of the more fearless storytellers around.
In his previous work (Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), Chan-wook has taken on those ethical dilemmas and taboos that most are unwilling to confront head on. Obsessed with how we as humans behave under the most extreme circumstances, Chan-wook has put together stories that are unsettling, visceral, and unapologetic. But his films aren’t simply ‘shock & awe’. Beneath it all, are complex and tragic love stories that are surprisingly compelling. When asked about his major influences, Chan-wook’s response was: Sophocles and Shakespeare. No wonder.
Thirst however is a little different. It is about a failed medical experiment that turns a priest into a vampire – but Chan-wook is quick to note that this isn’t just any ol’ vampire movie. “There are no bats, no stake through the heart, no fear of garlic and the cross”. For the most part, he’s absolutely right. However, somehow the film doesn’t feel as fresh or as daring as his previous movies. There just isn’t as much envelope pushing here. Nevertheless, Korean stars Song Kang-ho and Kim Ok-vin turn in outstanding performances in a well put together film.
Thirst is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of you that still can’t quench your blood sucking desires, here’s a fresh take from a film that can be incredibly fun.