Decision to Leave makes its cinematic mark by using the eye of a great Korean director with the tradition of a legendary filmmaker. Park Chan Woo channels Alfred Hitchcock and his masterpiece Vertigo for a mystery that explores psychological issues and makes sound but unsettling conclusions about the nature of obsession. The Korean director starts his story with highs and lows—literally since it involves a mountain climber who falls to his death.
The suicide—or murder—leads a detective to the man’s wife and a complicated cat and mouse game where the rides
a roller coaster of emotions. The highs and lows cause them to repeatedly exchange roles, the cat often shifting into the mouse and vice versa, not an unfamiliar concept to Vertigo and its use of heights and hidden emotions. Park Hai il and Tang Wei play their parts effectively, with the latter particularly effective as the centerpiece of a guessing game—she did something, but what?
Director Park Chan Woo wraps the mystery in sumptuous visuals, ranging from his attractive looking stars to locations in the Busan area, including scenic beach fronts and a mystical temple. No simple whodunnit, Decision to Leave nonetheless provides many of the intellectual challenges found in mysteries but ups the ante by ultimately dealing with fully rounded characters and a deep hole of emotions.