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Bakjwi (Thirst) Reviews

Page 1 of 78
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2012
Oh what could have been! In "Thirst" you have a great idea; that of a priest who, while trying to help mankind by participating in a vaccine trial that could save millions of lives, ends up with that tainted blood we all know so well. The moral implications are juicy - a man of God wrestling with the bloodthirsty (literally, he he he) beast now residing inside him - what a film this could be.

Sadly, the moralistic aspects of this tale get thrown by the wayside less than halfway through as the film dissolves into a bloody mess (again, literally). This Korean entry certainly has an odd style going for it, and for a time it works in a very linear and matter of fact way. Director Chan Wook Park has no qualms about showering us in torrents of blood as well as the more mundane human rituals, including farting and relieving oneself - stuff that served no purpose in the film and frankly I could have done without.

I was astounded at the amount of detail and time spent on things that didn't matter, while glossing over or simply blithely ignoring some pretty severe plot holes. The film seems to totally miss the point it was initially trying to make, as absurd sequence follows absurd sequence, so by the time you get to the ultimate scenes you almost laugh instead of taking it seriously. Any moral message has by this time become so buried by pointless scenes and a lack of cinematic focus that all sense of poignancy is lost.

The film is just so uneven, even in its CGI. There are some seamless bits where boils and pustules slowly vanish; vanquished by the vampire blood - but then there are some truly awful Crouching Tiger imitation jumping scenes that are truly laughable, and truly add nothing to the tale - really, this uber strong vampire thing once again glosses over the real meat of the matter - that in order to survive, a vampire requires the blood of the species he used to be. That should have been the focus here, along with how a priest slowly loses his battle with the beast within - suffering a loss of faith in the bargain - a metaphorical gem just waiting to be mined - but not in this film.
Cameron S

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2010
A beautifull yet brutal vampire film.
axadntpron
axadntpron

Super Reviewer

August 24, 2011
A hyper-sexual and highly stylized meditation on the sins of the flesh. Song Kang-Ho is superb here as a man "living" in a perpetual state of crises. On top of this, one can see a higher level of maturity in the direction when compared to Park Chan-Wook's previous films. There is some very subtle yet amazing camera work in this movie and I give him credit for doing something interesting with the tired vampire genre. All in all, this film is very unique and like all Park Chan-Wook films, worth a watch just for the experience.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2009
A priest accidentally infected with vampirism struggles with his new found earthly lusts and temptations while engaging in a love affair with an old friend's wife. Chan Wook Park indulges his fascination with the macabre with beautifully artistic visuals and a wicked streak of black humour as the vampire myth is once again deconstructed for the modern audience. Beautifully performed, particularly by Song Kang-ho as the tormented holy man in a nicely understated interpretation of a blood sucking monster who sees his condition as an unwanted curse rather than a gift. In fact technically, there is very little to be faulted here as aside perhaps from a rather slow first half, its pretty much a perfectly executed dark fantasy; the Crouching tiger style wirework of their undead acrobatics are particularly effective. The biggest problem is the source material as the vampire film is so ubiquitous its difficult to find anything here that hasn't been done before. Although this is the more complete film by far, the format is very reminiscent of Guillermo Del Toro's Cronos and the post modern concepts have been explored numerous times over the years. Certainly one of the most elegant examples of the genre but let's face it, vampires have been done to (un)death.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2011
There are some good things about this film and there are some bad things about it. First of all, the first half of the film is phenomenal. The pace, the characters and everything leading up to the mid-point of the picture really tell a nice story. Everything after that, however, is a mess. The latter half of the film seems to be going in several different directions and can never find a firm foothold story-wise. One of the things about the film that I admire are the love-making scenes. I am often a cheerleader for uncomfortably forced sex scenes and having them just for the sake of having them, but in this particular film not only are they successful, but they are also character-driven, highly erotic and just flat-out sensual. I can't say that this is a perfect film, but it is intensely interesting and I wish that the latter half of the film could have kept up with the first half.
WrenchLT
WrenchLT

Super Reviewer

January 8, 2011
Crazy Korean Vamp epic from Park Chan Wook. It's unique and offers something very different to Hollywoods overdone take on the Vampire genre. Some nice visuals and camerwork create some thrilling memorable scenes and even lovers of the gore will have plenty to soak up as it the blood flows fairly often. But overall it was just a bit too long and slow at times.
neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

November 23, 2009
Within the first half-hour of this film, I wondered if I was watching the right thing. The poster looks so broody and seeing as it was a selection at the Cannes, I was expecting something poetic and dramatic. What we have is a campy, wickedly humorous tale essentially about nothing more than the joys of sex and blood. Does that mean it's bad? Absolutely not! The film is wildly entertaining, but not at all what I had anticipated. There is some meat to the story and characters, yes; but nothing that memorable. I think the thing that sticks in the memory the strongest is when Kang-Woo is drinking blood right from one of those medical-tube things that shoot blood from the machine to the patient (I have no idea what the proper term would be) And he is slurping! It's a scene that is so twisted and horrible, but you cannot help but giggle. In varying degrees, that's how the rest of the film goes. A couple scenes are really wacked out and surreal and I wasn't totally sure what was going on and I also dozed off a bit in the middle - but the thing is terribly long. There are some moments that are genuinely unsettling, some truly gross; but overall, it's just entertaining. No, it's not what I expected, but, honestly, I think it is probably better and definitely more original.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
LorenzoVonMatterhorn

Super Reviewer

April 13, 2009
"Grant me the following in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a leper rotting in flesh, let all avoid me. Like a cripple without limbs, let me not move freely. Remove my cheeks, tht tears may not roll down them. Crush my lips and tongue, that I may not sin with them. Pull out my nails, that I may not grasp nothing. Let my shoulders and back be bent, that I may carry nothing. Like a man with tumor in the head let me lack judgment. Ravage my body sworn to chastity leave me with no pride, and have me live in shame. Let no one pray for me. But only the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me."

A failed medical experiment turns a man of faith into a vampire.

REVIEW
There's this whole theory of horror that some people adhere closely to that the monsters and the violence should be kept off-screen. Park Chan-Wook throws that concept completely out the window and shows directly what he wants--and what he wants to show is pretty much anything he can think of. Leaving it to the actors and dialog to create subtlety, from a stylistic perspective Park seems willing to do just about anything to get his point across. Whether it's long involved ensemble scenes with the camera whizzing around a mah-jong table or entire weeks confined to a single shot between two other scenes, dialog from the scenes before and after bleeding over them, Park doesn't keep to a specifically structured style but focuses more on telling the entire story of a couple's relationship from virginal remove through utter codependence to utter self-annihilation--and uses vampirism as the link and priestliness as the drama. It's that simple, and that complex, at the same time.

You gotta give him credit. Too many people are ready to compare any modern vampire movie to Twilight, with Twilight almost always being the lesser of the works, but here the stories are actually comparable, but this one is more raw and honest. None of this sparkly coming in the window during the night to talk crap, but anything ranging from the dirtiest, most desperate and virginal sex scene to eventual spousal abuse as the two leads begin to vie for power over one another. It's the same deal--guy and girl meet, girl finds out guy is a vampire, decides to join him anyway, but with no happily ever after, just straight-up limited time as they become forced to keep each other closer and closer and run out of options. The girl's motivations are particularly interesting as one desperately craving power and attention, to a fault, foiled by the guy who just wants to live a good life as best he can under the circumstances, but is a hypocrite who cannot admit that he's merely using his vampirism as an excuse to act against his moral training.

The movie isn't perfect and it does tend to stretch (there's no three act, five act, or any act structure here, just scene after scene of character building and dysfunctional romance), but what's great about it is that Park Chan-Wook is willing to show everything frankly and honestly while delighting the horror sensibilities of tension and gore. He also provides an expertly chosen soundtrack to hit the emotional high-notes in a pretty effective way, too.
Daniel J D

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2010
Only the third vampire movie I've really enjoyed so it makes sense that it comes from the same director who created Oldboy.
CloudStrife84
CloudStrife84

Super Reviewer

November 28, 2009
Asian film-makers sure have a flair for being original. Here it's the vampire genre that they given a new twist to. Although quite absurd and far-fetched story-wise, this was a very engaging experience (not to say delightful to look at, with its stunning mise-en-scene). Unlike other vampire films, which tend to focus on the glamorous side of things, this one gives thought to all the moral implications. It harbors a depth and intelligence that the Twilight-movies could only dream of. So for people like me, who love the supernatural but also crave some substance, this was the perfect alternative.
Sarah G

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2010
An excellent take on the now very familiar vampire genre from the master that it Mr. Chan Wook Park. However, unlike the familiar vampire flicks, this one takes a rather realistic approach to the possibilities and inevitable consequences of vampire life. Incredibly stylistic, which is typical Wook Park and also contains some gruesome scenes, also typical of the director. Perhaps, not quite as great as the Vengeance trilogy but equally enjoyable. Loved it! Look out for a great performance by Kim bin-Ok, a rising Korean star!

Highly recomended.
EightThirty .

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2010
04/06/2010 (DVD)

Wow, not what I expected, but not disappointed either.

It definitely has a twist on the whole vampire thing which was different and a rather interesting situation to the plot. I like the changes from the usual ideas so it was nice and weird for me and what I'm use to.

Its quite a watch with "suggestive comedy", "eroticism" and a truly "tragic romance".
Bannan i

Super Reviewer

May 23, 2010
I don't usually delve to often these in genres, but it was a lazy sunday and it seemed intriguing...and that's not ONLY. Entertaining and interesting as anything, it is the least predictable movie I've ever seen. Definitely worth a watch, if you haven't already. :]
DragonEyeMorrison
DragonEyeMorrison

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2008
Now that Park is (gladly) not making more movies for his daughter he can focus back on the real deal. Thirst is another bold and daring effort from the man, exploring once more human obsessions, redemption, among other things. A fantastic cast and Park's always sharp direction get a bit stained by the story, which seems to be running in circles in the second half. Nverless, the movie offers an engaging reflection regarding strong moral dilemmas in the vampire myths. There's plenty of stuff to enjoy here, from Park's unique sense of humour to the fun interaction between the two main characters. Also, Shin ha Kyun once more almost steals the show, that man needs to be in more movies.
deano
deano

Super Reviewer

December 3, 2009
This Korean vampire flick was the perfect foreign-film/arthouse antidote to New Moon of 2009! I haven't excepted to see a priest (played by Song Kang-Ho in The Host) turned vampire (without fangs) from the unidentified blood transfusion. And Korean Kim Ok-vin is hot as smouldering vixen that priest is manipulated. It is an increasingly nutty, blackly funny, pleasingly gory and genuinely erotic vamp variation for grown-ups.
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

February 15, 2010
Never dull, left-field take on the vampire genre as you would expect from Chan-wook. A little drawn out but always engaging if not particularly memorable.
Josh L

Super Reviewer

February 2, 2010
Thirst is a movie I admired more than I liked. It has great visuals and atmosphere, fine performances, and good cinematography, but the film is a mess when it comes to the story. It has many moments that lack coherence and the pacing is all over the place. The film is 2 hours and 13 minutes, but it felt like 4 hours. It is way too long and lacks the emotional resonance necessary to draw some one in for a long period of time. The movie is a romance first, gothic horror second. I think that was the problem I had with it. I expected something totally different than what I got. It's also incredibly gory and features lots of nudity. In other words, it's no "Let the Right One In", but it isn't without its gory and sensual pleasures.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2010
Good Korean vampire movie. Long at about 2 hours, but very involved and worth the watch.
RCCLBC
RCCLBC

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2009
An interesting spin on vampire lore.
While it starts out a little on the slow side, the last 45 minutes are quite enjoyable and worth the wait.
Almost a sort of (slightly more subtle) vampiric version of a Tarantino film, without having to deal with Tarantino's penchant for excessive dialog and self indulgent cameos.
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