This was another one of those 'I wish/planned to see this film at the LFF but missed it'. But I knew with its high status that it would be around sooner rather than later. I was right.
Based on Sarah Waters novel 'Fingersmith' The Handmaiden moved the story away from Victorian era London to Japanese occupied Korea in th 30s and its beautiful. Its technically an erotic psychological thriller, which is very accurate but there is a love story at the heart of the film.
Sook-hee is a theif who is hired by con artist "Count Fujiwara" to persuade the recluse, heiress Lady Hideko, to marry him. Her beyond creepy uncle who is obsessed with Japanese culture stands in his way but he plans to convince Hideko to elope with him. But over time Sook-hee and the Lady become close, very close and start to fall in love with each other, which changes more than one person's plans in this story.
Even though I knew the story having watched the BBC adaptation of the novel, which I didn't care for, it still felt like the twists and turns were surprises. Same story, but a whole different, beautifully constructured view. Every part to this story is dripping with elegance. And I'm not just talking about the exquisite costumes. I'm talking about the creep as hell basement which made my skill crawl. I was made to feel uncomfortable at the mention of the basement even before I knew what was down there.
The three act structure was perfect for this story, seeing how it all played out for each character had me on the edge of the seat, especially as I forgot what Lady Hideko was forced to read to her Uncle and his disgusting guests.
The hype around the film is well deserved and as I have enjoyed Park Chan-wook's previous films, the amazing Stoker (also very creepy) and the ill-fated Snowpiercer, as well as his past 'I'm a Cyborg', I'm really excited to see what he does next. I'm also hoping this piece of cinematic glory will finally overshadow Oldboy.
Next up... check out all the films HERE.