Why the unnerving, poignant ending to ‘Decision to Leave’ had to be perfect

From the opening image of “Decision to Leave,” a story about a detective who falls in love with a murder suspect, you’ll no doubt be consumed by the beauty of director Park Chan-wook’s imagery. They are picturesque, functional and framed with careful care. Color palettes subtly invite and draw you into the allure of its characters, as if to suggest that there is more going on beneath the surface.

There is no more perfect example of this than the dramatic, heartbreaking sequence with Seo-rae (Tang Wei) standing in her own sand grave during the flood until only the top of her head is visible. The camera is placed low on the ground, framed from the perspective of the water. As it slowly begins to rise, Detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) runs to the beach to find her. The moment is unnerving, poignant and pure park.

Cinematographer Kim Ji-yong and the director planned every shot with meticulous attention to detail. “The timing had to be perfect. The sun had to be just before sunset and the tide had to be just right,” says Kim. “We only had two days, and if we missed it, we would have had to wait several months to shoot again to find the right moment.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/awards/story/2022-11-30/why-the-unnerving-poignant-ending-to-decision-to-leave-had-to-be-perfect Why the unnerving, poignant ending to ‘Decision to Leave’ had to be perfect

Sarah Ridley

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