Friday, January 22, 2010

Thirst - 4/5

It's hard to not hide my disappointment with "Thirst". Yeah, its still a fairly sizable film with lots of artistic splashes and wonderful work overall, but when it comes to films by Park Chan-wook, I expect only the highest caliber. "Thirst" is really good, but not anywhere near the quality of some of his other films like "Oldboy" or "Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance" which are downright amazing.

There is a lot of good conceptional work going on in this film as a man of the cloth decides to become a medical experiment in the name of finding a cure for a rare disease. Unfortunately, the disease is too powerful and during his life saving blood replenishment procedure he accidentally becomes a vampire. Sending him on a trek questioning faith, love, humanity, and the value of life itself.

Most of the great moments in the film come from its subtlety. Park Chan-wook is not a man of over explanation, and this film demands of its audience a keen memory, a keen eye, and a keen sense of thought. He's not going to put the questions of any concept in the dialogue. So if you don't like films that make you think for yourself and you have to put together the puzzle then avoid this one.

Although I love the conceptional chaos that is contained in the film, sometimes I felt it didn't go far enough. It touches on so many but never really delves into a lot of them. At times I wanted a even greater struggle with the two lovers with their own existence than perhaps just with one another. The film is so low key and subtle that at times I felt the urgency and high stakes of the story were minimalized when they were a lot bigger than that. The lead characters denouncement of his cloth, the decision to save his love (multiple times), and even the realization that blood was his lifeline could have been even bigger jolts to the system. I just wanted some of the stakes to feel even bigger than the characters.

Of course, those are some minute scripting and directing quips. Overall Park Chan-wook's visual style is top of the line in this film. Desaturated colors, the visual and representational work of blood in the film, and even the editing is artistically pretty solid and combined with downright wonderful performances from both the main characters and an impressive supporting cast and this is still quite a solid film.

I enjoyed this film even if it quite wasn't up to par with the director's catalog. Intense performances (particularly from our leading lady and her descent) and a visceral visual style make this a must watch for Horror fans. Just don't expect "Twilight" folks. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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