The Handmaiden (2016); ‘Ah-Ga-Ssi’ Short Review

Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Written by: Sarah Waters (novel “The Fingersmith”), Seo-kyeong Jeong (screenplay)


Chan-wook Park’s new take on “The Fingersmith” is incredibly beautiful. The poetic atmosphere of the film reveals so much pathology, admiration, sexuality and sadness without losing its subtlety – on dialogues or sequences. The film is a result of strong cinematography studies, paired with great acting and incredible script sensibility.


It’s one of those experiences where you suddenly find yourself inside the story, without realizing it. This particular story is yet another look at Park’s passion for vengeance and treachery, handcrafted less with violence and more with sense, mystery and patience. There were a few moments when I felt less attracted to the plot – maybe in the beginning, or towards its ending -, but, nevertheless, its universe is incredibly well constructed.

The shots are visually stunning and creative, not only recreating the period but also freshening it up with lively shots and smart misè-en-scene. All of its technical components feel natural and of great taste, managing to add layers to the narrative instead of only underlying it. Each actor made peace with their characters, and their conviction and belief shows through every line.

When I think now about the ending, the twist satisfies me, even though I’ve finished the movie with a taste of seen this before. By all means, The Handmaiden is an amazing piece of storytelling about love, ambition and deceit, once again proving Park’s talent in dealing with complex relationships onscreen.

A shot:



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