A man mountain climbing in South Korea reaches the summit, then falls to his death. Police inspector Hae-Joon (Park) must find out whether he jumped or was pushed. When he first encounters Seo-rae (Tang), the man’s beautiful Chinese widow, we sense an immediate connection, and danger. As the investigation continues, the relationship between cop and suspect only grows closer, though neither party acts on their feelings. Hae-Joon is vulnerable, stuck in a lackluster marriage with his wife (Lee) and beset by chronic insomnia. His helpless longing for Seo-rae may well blur his judgment. Later another murder clouds the picture further. Is it a coincidence, or is Seo-rae a killer?
Park Chan-wook’s opaque, engrossing thriller offers plenty of atmosphere and more than a little misdirection. Though populated by archetypal characters (the weary detective and alluring femme fatale), that’s about as familiar as “Decision” gets, as real-time narrative blends with depictions of fantasies and desires inside Hae-Joon’s head. Each frame, glance and gesture seems to contain hidden meaning. Adding to the sense of dislocation is the language barrier between Korean Hae-Joon and Chinese Seo-Rae. Tang Wei steals the film as a temptress any man could lose his way (or life) for. Evoking shades of “Vertigo” and “The Last Seduction”, this dense, twisty tale screams out for repeat viewings.