Arts

Losing the plot Premium

20 April 2017 | by Anthony Quinn

The Handmaiden Director: Park Chan-Wook

 

About a third of the way into Park Chan-wook’s exquisite-looking period drama, The Handmaiden, I felt certain I was watching a masterpiece unfold. By the end of its two-and-a- half-hour span I realised (oh, alas!) it was anything but. The slide in quality and credibility really is that stark.

The film is adapted from Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel, Fingersmith, not an entirely outlandish choice for a director whose previous highlights – the revenge epic Oldboy and the lurid southern US Gothick Stoker – mixed cold calculation with superheated desire. In contrast to the book’s brilliant evocation of mid-Victorian lowlife, the film is set in the Korea of the 1930s during its Japanese occupation: yet both concern class and identity and what it takes to sneak between the porous lines separating them. A young Korean woman, Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), is sent by Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) to wait upon Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee), a delicate, highly-strung heiress who lives imprisoned in the country estate of her rich pornographer uncle.





Register for free articles a month or subscribe now from £53* for 6 months unlimited access to article content.
Subscribe now and enjoy access to all parts of the tablet website, Including its 175 year archive...
Subscribe


Article List


TABLET WORLD…
Latest Issue
Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Most Read Articles

Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position 09 May 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Consecration of renegade Anglican bishop not intended to splinter CofE but necessary to preserve its true 'heritage and mission' says breakaway church17 May 2017 by Rose Gamble

Medjugorje report's conclusions could be a 'first' for the church, says Vatican commission member 18 May 2017 by Catholic News Service

Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position 09 May 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Consecration of renegade Anglican bishop not intended to splinter CofE but necessary to preserve its true 'heritage and mission' says breakaway church17 May 2017 by Rose Gamble

Medjugorje report's conclusions could be a 'first' for the church, says Vatican commission member 18 May 2017 by Catholic News Service

Official teaching has changed throughout the whole history of the ChurchPremium18 May 2017 by Sara Maitland

Time to get real: both believers and unbelievers are crucial in winning the battle against 'post truth'Premium18 May 2017 by Matthew d'Ancona

The Tablet Interview - Once a Catholic... screenwriter and renowned TV producer Jimmy Mc­Govern talks to Peter StanfordPremium18 May 2017 by Peter Stanford

Official teaching has changed throughout the whole history of the ChurchPremium18 May 2017 by Sara Maitland

Time to get real: both believers and unbelievers are crucial in winning the battle against 'post truth'Premium18 May 2017 by Matthew d'Ancona

The Tablet Interview - Once a Catholic... screenwriter and renowned TV producer Jimmy Mc­Govern talks to Peter StanfordPremium18 May 2017 by Peter Stanford

Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here

Manage
Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up
Top