The Handmaiden Blu-ray Review

The Handmaiden

Hand maids are so hot right now.

There’s that tv show I’ve heard so many good things about, but haven’t got around to watching yet.

Mostly because the idea of a story about maids sounds a little boring.

Unless they’re french of course.

Or are the kind found in Park Chan-wook’s latest film, The Handmaiden.

Sook-Hee is a fence, just not of the white picket variety.

Living in poverty, she’s decided grifting is the best way out of her current predicament and has fallen in with a bad crowd, lead by Count Fujiwara.

Normally the cons they try and pull are small fry, but y has stumbled upon a once in a lifetime trick that could forever change their lives.

Lady Hideko is a well to do Japanese sort desperately in need of a husband, and Fujiwara is just the man for the job.

Or at least he will be for as long as it takes to send Hideko crazy, so he can pack her off to the local asylum and relieve the lady of her good fortune.

All the Count needs is someone on the inside of Hideko’s life to prime the target ahead of his arrival.

Someone our well to do lady relies on, so as to earn her trust.

A handmaiden.

Sook-Hee happily volunteers to play the part, eager to escape her own mundane existence by whatever means possible.

But all is not as it seems in this tale of hands and maidens.

Famous for his brilliant movie Oldboy, director Chan-wook may have created something even better with his latest film.

Adapted from Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith novel, The Handmaiden is a perfectly observed tale told in three distinct acts.

And at the end of each act, you feel the rug being pulled out from underneath you.

With more twists and turns than a twisty, turny thing – and fans of Chan-wook’s work would expect nothing less – The Handmaiden pulls off that rare cinematic trick of becoming more interesting the further you delve into its dirty little rabbit hole.

Which isn’t to say that The Handmaiden itself is dirty.

It’s actually filth.

I found myself with the extended version to review, which at almost three hours is probably too long to enjoy in one sitting.

But if ingenious storytelling frequently interspersed with stunning landscapes and kinky asian girls is your thing, then The Handmaiden won’t disappoint.

Maids may never seem so boring again.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

August 2017