Thirst, directed by Park Chan-Wook, 2009
After bowing in limited release in late July, Park Chan-Wook's latest has finally made it to my neck of the woods, and although I've already reviewed it elsewhere, let me put a bit more plainly how I felt about the acclaimed director's take on the vampire genre.
At the very least, it's interesting, but more often than not, it's little more. When Park starts out concerned about how our priest protagonist (Kang-ho Song, very good at internalizing his guilt) will keep his newfound blood-sucking tendencies in check, it's a nimble and unpredictable little morality play. When Kang-ho re-unites with a childhood friend, it's a passionate and peculiar little romance. But beyond that, the plotting takes a turn towards self-destructive junkie-love turf and is never quite as engaging for it.
Thoughout, Chung-hoon Chung's cinematography proves lovely, and Park doesn't shy away from especially juicy sound work when the time comes for it, but for all the technical prowess on display, Thirst isn't as dramatically complete an outing for Park as his Vengeance Trilogy, JSA: Joint Security Area or I'm a Cyborg.... For running 2 hours and 15 minutes, it doesn't drag so much as ramble, and while it's bound to hold the interest of those already interested, I struggle to think that it's ultimately much more than the sum of its (body) parts.