Decision to leave (2022) End of the film, explained – What happens at the seaside?


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Park Chan-wook, the famed Korean master behind acclaimed films like Oldboy and The servant, is back with his new film Decision to leave (2022). For anyone familiar with his works, one knows the stylistic flourishes the director masters – there is a morbid pleasure in the brutal heart of his works. For Decision to Leave, the director takes a decidedly different approach: it is an erotic suspense thriller that revolves around a police case but whose formal interest lies more in the characters than in the revelations. He is an insomniac detective who has a romantic relationship with the victim’s wife. The reasons are deceiving.

For viewers looking for a simple answer, it can be a frustrating experience. There are no easy answers, but as complex as the central relationship is, the “decision to leave” becomes a dizzying existential impulse to affirm the human condition. It’s a thriller that hides under its crisp and swooning love story. “I wanted to make a movie that would tell a love story without saying the words ‘I love you,'” is how Park described Decision to Leave, which premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and deservedly won him the Best Director award. If you’ve seen the film and wondered beyond its glorious cinematic achievement to arrive at this thoughtful denouement, you know how it eludes you.

You’re not alone if you’ve taken a second watch to fully delve into the sea of ​​detail that Decision to Leave hides. “In the mystery genre, the writers give you the answer to the question. Not your personal questions, but they answer the central question of the story, and that’s made clear to us,” Park said. “We are always hungry after this because our own questions are never fully answered.” The following essay dissects the world of Decision to Leave for this answer alone, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet, skip ahead. It contains major spoilers. For others, go for it!

Decision to Leave (2022) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis

Decision to Leave follows a South Korean detective named Hae-Joon (superbly played by Park Hae-il) falling in love with this mysterious Chinese woman named Seo-are (a formidable Tang Wei), who is the wife of the Korean man who died after falling of a cliff. She comes for the initial inquest, where she shows no grief over her husband’s death – instead hides a chuckle when asked about it. Seo-are also notices that she has a small bandage on her left hand. What is she hiding? As she is tracked, there are shocking clues in the play as to how she is wanted for murder in China and was nearly brought to Korea by her husband, who has his initials tattooed on her. Later, Hae-Joon overhears the exchange Seo-Rae has a cat to whom she says, “Bring me this kind detective’s heart.” It leaves a delightful trail between the two that reveals itself in the smallest of gestures and triumphs in that alluring thrill of getting to know someone’s mind.

Halfway through, the narrative jumps a few months ahead, and then another murder occurs. The same characters return, but now the roles have turned. Seo-Rae operates as a master of what Hae-Joon is capable of and becomes a magnetic force of distraction around his morals. It’s also in the territory of attention to detail, where every scene and every new exchange hides and enhances a possible clue. The less you know, the better. And if you think that in this digital age of quick answers, a thriller like Decision to Leave can’t keep its secret…you’re in for a treat. Just wait for Seo-are to say these words in Chinese: “The moment you said you love me, your love is over. The moment your love ends, my love begins.

End of the decision to leave, explained

What’s going on by the sea?

Decision to Leave is a genre-bending tale of love and deception. At its heart, it’s a love story carved from the same mold as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. The decision to leave can be broken down into three parts if one wants to assimilate the breadcrumb trail necessary to truly complete the test. The first part is Hae-Joon’s investigation part about Seo-Rae’s Korean husband, who falls off the hill. He is devastated when he finds out how she orchestrated the whole murder (the step counter on his dead wife’s laptop shows 138 steps). He has to hide his feelings for her and tries to save her by advising her to get rid of this evidence. At that moment, while Hae-Joon is talking, Seo-are records his voice on his phone, “Don’t talk about our time like that.” she says. “What sort of weather was it?” he asks. “The time I spent away from your house each night?” This whole passage marks the end of the first part.


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Part 2 begins when Hae-Joon meets Seo-rae again after a year at the Lipo Fish Market. She is now with her second husband, Ho-shin (Park Yong-woo), who is a business analyst. He is found stabbed in his swimming pool, and this time Seo-race is remanded in custody with charges. But she didn’t commit the murder. Even though the confession of the man named Chul-sung (whose connection to Seo-rae is established in the brief interlude) who facilitated the murder is recorded, we know that Seo-Rae did not commit this crime. She calls Hae-Joon at night when it’s snowing and gives him the proof that he told her to destroy the last crime – the phone.

The third part can be broken down into the last act. The next day, Hae-Joon finds out that it was indeed Chul-sung who killed her second husband, but Seo kills Chul-sung’s mother. Here’s the twist. Seo-rae is in her car, whose location Hae-Joon is tracking. Along the way, he calls her to seek answers. Why? he asks. Hae-Joon reveals that she did it because she knew her husband reinvested the mother’s money and lost it. As a result, if she drugs the mother and kills her, Chul-sung will blame Ho-shin and end up killing him. At the end, Ho-shin also discovers the recording in his phone where Hae-Joon tells him, “I love you.” It’s not said in the literal sense but in fear that Seo-rae will be caught, so she has to get rid of the evidence ASAP. This gesture shows his love for her.

Decision to leave 2022

She stops her car on the beach and interrupts the call, advising Hae-Joon to throw the phone into the sea. She digs up the sand just as the waves come in and waits inside for the water to fill. Hae-Joon reaches the spot, but by the time he’s there, frantically searching for her, she’s too deep inside the water level to be alive. The decision to leave ends with Hae-Joon listening to her own voice in the recording and still watching her. Her decision to kill herself was because she knew the truth would come to light, which would also mean that Hae-Joon would be involved in the investigation for his attempt to destroy evidence. Who will this benefit? His disappearance may be the only saving grace.

Decision to Leave (2022) propels its dense narrative with confidence in the viewer to cling to the smallest details. It’s near perfect in its precision but also hides a mysterious reservoir of unspoken emotions. In the end, it’s all about what matters most to you – and I’ll leave you with this line from director Park Chan-wook, “I wanted to do a different movie this time. Since it’s a story of people who hide their true emotions, I wanted the audience to become eager to approach these people, to peek into their minds, curious to know what they are thinking.



Decision to Leave (2022) Official Trailer

Decision to Leave (2022) Movie links: IMDb, Letter box
Where to watch Decision to Leave

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