LWLies 95: The Decision to Leave issue – Out now!

Dive in to the deceptively tranquil waters of Park Chan-wook’s sensational, genre-splicing detective yarn.

Little White Lies

Cover art

Michael Dunbabin

Apologies for kicking things off on a morbid note, but the South Korean director Park Chan-wook will likely go to his grave being remembered for the image of a man scoffing down a live squid in his 2002 film Oldboy. Either that, or scenes of men being smacked over the head with a claw hammer which occur slightly later on in that same film. That’s not to say that Park hasn’t made anything worthwhile since that glorious, turn-of-the-century aria to violent revenge, it’s more that he’s tamped down his streak of gaudy sensationalism to focus more on the impact and emotion of the films themselves.

His brand as a filmmaker became attached to his fondness for exploring the mechanics of revenge across a trilogy of films, but more recently, he has turned to making cool, dark and menacing studies of Alfred Hitchcock, with Stoker (Shadow of a Doubt), The Handmaiden (Notorious) and his brand new one, Decision to Leave, which is clearly inspired by the cinematic vortex that is 1958’s Vertigo. The new issue of LWLies offers up an ode to this slippery neo-noir in which a simple detective story mutates into something much more complex and cerebral when clean-cut cop (Park Jae-il’s Hae-jun) falls for his prime suspect (Tang Wei’s Seo-rae).

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In the issue, Park talks about his distaste for genre demarcation, and the fact that he wants to make films that transcend these simple tags. With Decision to Leave (out in UK cinemas on 21 October), the argument that he’s mellowed as a filmmaker doesn’t hold water, as even though this is a more studied and quiet film than his previous rip-roaring rampages, it still touches on big themes and radical ideas. With its modern noir trappings, we decided to make this issue by taking a stylistic cue from the films that Park clearly loves so much: those swooning romantic detective tales from classic-era Hollywood, those films where fiery love affairs are doomed by tragic circumstances.

On the cover

For this issue we ushered in the services of illustrator Michael Dunbabin to create a portrait of the Chinese actor Tang Wei which offers a modern riff on a selection of classic noir film posters. Other amazing illustration work is featured in this issue from Ben Giles, Jen Yoon, Stéphanie Sergeant, Julia Plath, Ben Turner and HuanHuan Wang.

In this issue

Lead Review: Decision to Leave

Hannah Strong grapples with the nerve-rattling melodrama of Park Chan-wook’s stunning latest.

Shadows and Fog

Iana Murray talks to the enigmatic Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook about the precision required to make a film like Decision to Leave.

Animal Instinct

Actor Tang Wei on her extraordinary, multifaceted central performance in Park Chan-wook’s new film.

A Dark Turn

Korean leading man Park Hae-il on why he represents a new kind of character for Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook: A Space Odyssey

A dossier of five essays exploring the significance of rooms and interior spaces in the cinema of Park Chan-wook, by David Jenkins, Josh Slater-Williams, Saffron Maeve, Lillian Crawford, Leila Latif.

The Ballad of Scottie and Madeleine

Mark Asch and Sophie Monks Kaufman enter into a dialogue on the interpretive vortex that is Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

Ten Green Bottles

Jake Cole celebrates another – and very different – Korean maestro, the maker of acerbic, tipsy relationship miniatures, Hong Sang-soo.

Threads #23: The Plaster

Christina Newland pulls off the cinematic plaster to see what’s left underneath.

In the back section

It’s Such a Beautiful Day at 10

Sophie Monks Kaufman engages in a lengthy (and poignant and hilarious) email exchange with the stop-frame animator Don Hertzfeldt on the occasion of the tenth birthday of his sole feature work, It’s Such a Beautiful Day.

Peter Strickland

Anton Bitel chats to the Brit cinema iconoclast about his new film Flux Gourmet, a neurotic splatter comedy set in the world of sonic catering.

Lena Dunham

Emma Fraser chats to the American polymath on the occasion of her hilarious and heartfelt new directorial work, Catherine Called Birdy.

Gina Prince-Bythewood

Rōgan Graham talks to the filmmaker whose new tilt towards epic action sagas has resulted in The Woman King.

Owen Kline

David Jenkins hears about squirrel music and shuttered NY comic stores from the loquacious director of Funny Pages.

Babak Anvari

Katherine McLaughlin meets the British-Iranian genre maestro to discuss his Hitchcockian lates, I Came By.


Ella Kemp talks to video essayist-turned-writer/director Kogonada about his gentle sci-fi parable, After Yang.

Meet the Author: Philippa Snow

We meet the acerbic journalist and essayist to discuss her debut book whose title speaks for itself: ‘Which as You Know Means Violence: On Self-Injury as Art and Entertainment’.

In review

Hong Sang-soo’s In Front of Your Face
David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future
Hanna Bergholm’s Hatching
Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet
George Miller’s 3000 Years of Longing
Alli Haapasalo’s Girls Girls Girls
Halina Rejin’s Bodies Bodies Bodies
Owen Kline’s Funny Pages
John Michael McDonagh’s The Forgiven
Babak Anvari’s I Came By
Aga Woszczynska’s Silent Land
Claire Denis’ Both Sides of the Blade
Joana Pimenta and Adirley Queirós’ Dry Ground Burning
Patricio Guzman’s The Cordillera of Dreams
Malachi Smyth’s The Score
Edwin’s Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash
Zhang Yimou’s One Second
Kogonada’s After Yang

Plus, Matt Turner selects six key home ents releases for your consideration.

LWLies 95 is available to order online now from our online shop. Become a Member or subscribe today to make sure you never miss an issue.

Published 30 Aug 2022

Tags: Alfred Hitchcock Decision to Leave Film Noir Korean Cinema Oldboy Park Chan-wook

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About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.