The U.S. debut of Park Chan-wook‘s Decision to Leave (MUBI, 10.14) is a few months off, and I’m sure his devoted fans will celebrate every shot, cut and camera move of this slow-moving noir. From a technical standpoint it’s masterful, but it was understood by a certain percentage of Cannes Film Festival critics (i.e., the honest ones) that it didn’t go much further that that.

The Park Chan-wook cabal has insisted for years that the usual narrative elements that define most first-rate films don’t count as much when it comes to PCW, that he’s a world-class auteur because of his high style and excellent chops and that’s all — the same kind of rationale that floated Brian DePalma‘s boat for so many years.

Just remember what I was saying last May, which is that Decision to Leave is a beautifully shot slog if I ever saw one.

Posted on 5.23.22: With all due respect for Park Chan-wook’s smooth and masterful filmmaking technique (no one has ever disputed this) and the unbridled passion that his cultish film critic fans have expressed time and again…

And with respect, also, for the time-worn film noir convention of the smart but doomed male protagonist (a big city homicide detective in this instance) falling head over heels for a Jane Greer-like femme fatale and a psychopathic wrong one from the get-go

The labrynthian (read: convoluted) plotting of Park’s Decision To Leave, though intriguing for the first hour or so, gradually swirls around the average-guy viewer (read: me) and instills a feeling of soporific resignation and “will Park just wrap this thing up and end it already?

Jesus God in heaven, but what doth it profit an audience to endure this slow-drip, Gordian knot-like love story-slash-investigative puzzler (emphasis on the p word) if all that’s left at the end is “gee, what an expert directing display by an acknowledged grade-A filmmaker!”