Top Ten Movies of 2022 — Number Five

The opening passages of Decision to Leave move like an entire season of a serious-minded cable channel’s arty police procedural packed into a few minutes. Detective Jang Hae-jun (Park Hae-il), a stern insomniac, investigates a suspicious cliffside death, bringing him into contact with a suspect who seems to be an especially sly femme fatale (Tang Wei). The film clips along dispensing key plot details as if there’s a trilogy’s worth of basic information to fit in. The real goal, though, is to provide as much contextualizing set up before settling in to the soul of the movie: the relationship between the two lead characters. With tremendous depth of feeling, director Park Chan-wook depicts the connection that intertwines between the two of them until it’s as tight as a noose. His technique is impeccable throughout the film, inviting study of every edit, inventive shot, and tilt of lighting. What impresses the most is the tone of Decision to Leave, which takes classic film noir mood and transforms it into a modern, vibrant swirl of cinematic sensation.

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