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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transubstantiation
I watch few Korean films and my comments should be taken in that light. Thirst is a vampire film, but it is also about religion, depravity, conscience and morality. Opening with that popular device - a virus - it travels through a family that have escaped from a Zola novel, much murder, to the final very satisfying denouement. I felt it took far too long to do so, but...
Published on 6 Feb 2010 by Charles Vasey

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bloodless
Starts well, with typically quirky characters (a la Oldboy etc), but descends into a long and convoluted plot concerning a family murder. I got monumentally bored and disappointed (l loved Oldboy) about three quarters of the way in and didn't even bother watching the end. The film is kind of lost in the hinterlands between love story, vampire movie and thriller without...
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bloodless, 22 Aug 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (Bangor, North Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Starts well, with typically quirky characters (a la Oldboy etc), but descends into a long and convoluted plot concerning a family murder. I got monumentally bored and disappointed (l loved Oldboy) about three quarters of the way in and didn't even bother watching the end. The film is kind of lost in the hinterlands between love story, vampire movie and thriller without having the core strengths of each genre. Shame.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transubstantiation, 6 Feb 2010
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Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
I watch few Korean films and my comments should be taken in that light. Thirst is a vampire film, but it is also about religion, depravity, conscience and morality. Opening with that popular device - a virus - it travels through a family that have escaped from a Zola novel, much murder, to the final very satisfying denouement. I felt it took far too long to do so, but that may simply be my western "clock". Although it was transparently not True Blood In Seoul it stuck to most of the vampire genre strengths (though Korean vampires can be seen in mirrors) while adding a very Catholic element. It is as if Graham Greene had been asked to rewrite Interview With A Vampire.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little More "Seoul" Than The Average Vampire Film (Arf)., 30 Dec 2009
By 
Brady Orme (Edgbaston, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Ah, Chan Park-Wook, the *primus inter pares* of South Korean film, the man behind the "Vengeance" trilogy and the legendary "Oldboy" is not a man to rest on his laurels (two Roman references - I'll stop now) after such an illustrious slew of films. Oh no. After the slightly disappointing "I'm a Cyborg - And That's OK" he's gone straight for the jugular (sorry) with this take on Vampire mythology. And it's not a film to do things by halves either.

Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a christian priest who wishes to uphold his strict morality and respect for human life by volunteering for research project that's attempting to destroy a lethal virus that's threatening civilisation as we know it - However, the virus contained in the vaccine starts to have untold consequences for his health.... Hence, he receives a blood transfusion. By some strange quirk of fate (very strange), he receives vampire blood by mistake. soon Sang-hyun is showing the usual bloodsucker symptoms which, let's face it, isn't something a pious priest should have to face. And as luck will have it a friend's spouse (Kim Ok-vin) approaches him for help in escaping her sorry facade of a life. Sensual experiences follow, experiences that may just launch him headlong into sin and shatter his faith. Yes, I'm not one to use the old "it's such-and-such meets such-and-such" chestnut when trying to sum up a film, but it's "Nosferatu" meets "Nine-And-A-Half Weeks" and by golly does it whip up a Kaleidoscope of tension. And, why do women find vampires so sexy? (answers please on a postcard).

The film has received praise across the board from critics, and it damn-well deserves it too. And hats off to Pallisades Tartan for picking it up for distribution, as before this film it's been old Tartan re-releases (which believe me I would never, ever criticise). Watch now, and shun that successful franchise set in Oregon or wherever with trees and stuff. Glittery types be damned.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Therese Raquin re-visited, 17 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
This is a very good movie from an excellent director. The storyline reminded me strongly of Emile Zola's Therese Raquin - except there were no vampires in Zola's story as I recall! However the story of illicit love between a priest and a woman who is unhappily married to a rather simple and crass man and also shackled to a harridan of a mother-in-law goes down the same path - lust, love, conspiracy, murder and guilt. In Therese Raquin, the lovers drown the unfortunate husband and here too a similar path is followed. Unhappiness, hatred and despair follow. This tale of domestic misery is wrapped in an occult story of accidental vampirism (the priest takes part in a clinical trial which infects him with the need to feed on human blood. without giving away too much the vampirism escalates and his wife becomes infected too - she however feels no sense of guilt regarding this and positively embraces her new found freedom. For both of them however, the "ghost" of the murdered husband and the beady eye of his stroke ridden mother remain a very disturbing presence. Conscience and guilt destroy the relationship and the priest resolves the situation in a way that is both shocking and moving - redemption of a kind. Korea produces brilliant and thought provoking movies - even when wrapped up in what is becoming a rather hackneyed vehicle for expressing ideas of alienation and illicit love.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, tragic, twisted, absurd and darkly comic., 5 July 2010
This review is from: Thirst [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you love Chan-wook Park, you know what to expect. His films are brutal, poetic, tragic, and artistic, with splashes of very grim humor. THIRST is clearly Park's style, and I loved every second of it, from the cinematography (every shot is gorgeous and creative) to the story, which blends Shakespearean tragedy, murderous love, Gothic horror, and layered character drama. The characters are complex and there is plenty of moral ambiguity to go around. The story was about a devoted priest from a small town who volunteers for a medical experiment which fails and turns him into a vampire. Physical and psychological changes lead to his affair with a wife of his childhood friend who is repressed and tired of her mundane life. The one-time priest falls deeper in despair and depravity. As things turn for worse, he struggles to maintain what's left of his humanity.

Helmed by one of the internationally renowned Korean directors, Park Chan-wook (Old Boy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), Thirst dissects the charms and woes of vampirism with the focus particularly on struggle with sins and deception. Right from the start, the film started questioning the priest's self righteous acts of volunteering for the deadly medical experiment. Was it really in good faith or was it selfish thought to fulfill a morbid vanity act? The movie then delves deeper into the human psyche. What if the society/community rules that bound us no longer existed? What if we succumb a little to our temptations and slowly become addicted to these sinful pleasures?

It went on questioning if you have discover the person you loved is flawed in his or her's own monstrous ways, will there be any changes to the love you had prior to the discovery. Those are hard questions that are slowly explored in the usual Park Chan-Wook's dark humor trademarks, coupled with visually stunning cinematography and great visuals. It's filled with stomach churning brutality and ghastliness that provokes the audience to ponder about the nastiness in human relationships. This film will definitely appeal to vampire fans as well as fans of Asian cinema, as it is one of the best ones out there along with Let The Right One In, I highly recommend this.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quenching The Thirst, 27 Jan 2010
This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
The world cinema section released some outstanding titles during the Noughties with Korea coming to the fore and putting the usual formulaic Hollywood nonsense to shame. For me, Park Chan-Wook was one of the main highlights of the past decade and, in my opinion, any comparisons drawn between his artistic qualities and that of the late, great Kubrick wouldn't be misplaced; in a sense that both directors share that same unique ability in capturing the best possible camera angles for shooting a memorable scene: the blood spewed across the floor in the overly fluorescent apartment leaps to mind.

Thirst, centres around a suicidal priest played by Kang-Ho Song (JSA, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance) who dies after volunteering to be part of a medical experiment but a blood transfusion brings him back to life as a vampire. Initially, because of his religious background, he is reluctant on killing people for his own gratification so he resorts to siphoning blood from a coma patient. The priest then covets a lonely, unhappily married woman (stellar debut from Kim Ok-Vin adding further testament to Park's directing skills) and a deeply passionate affair between the two lost souls ensues. It's not long before the adulterous wife has tricked the priest into killing her husband, thus changing the dynamics between the forbidden lovers and paving the way for some strong bloody violence and very steamy sex scenes that have been tastefully shot by the director.

The grossly underrated chameleon actor, Shin-Ha Kyun (Save The Green Planet), is cast in quite a small role as the ill-fated husband but adds a great deal of humour with his performance in this gothic tale: the threesome bedroom scene had me howling with laughter. The pacing at the beginning is slow; allowing the viewer to warm to the characters, but the momentum gradually builds and continues to do so until the final climax. The score has been created by the same musical team who worked on Oldboy and it's very similar in tone. Let The Right One In was an enjoyable flick that dealt with the innocents of youth, whereas this feature is on another level with a more adult theme running through its core. This is guaranteed to quench the Thirst of most genuine Park fans but will more than likely disappoint those expecting to be hammered with another Oldboy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Morality Tale With A Vampiric Twist, 28 Oct 2012
By 
pjr (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Park Chan-wook has set cinema alight in the past few years. Delighting many with his densely plotted and original work. "Thirst" beguiled the Cannes film jury (as did "Oldboy") and it's clear to see why they were so impressed. What plays out over its duration is a beautiful meditation on guilt and sin.

This is a movie imbued with a sense of Catholic guilt. The central character, a priest played by Song Kang-ho, begins to question his faith and decides to take part in a dangerous medical experiment. The result of this is that he takes on the qualities of a vampire. He meets with a former friend from school whose mother takes pity on him and offers him a place to stay. Living with the mother and her son is a girl they had taken in as child and now, married to the son, she acts as a servant/slave to the two. The priest is fascianted by her and with his new perceptions now attacted to her - a mortal sin for a priest.

So begins the journey of the two central characters. Although ostensibly this is a vampire movie it is imbued with a deep sense of Catholic guilt. The morality here is explored, identified, and destroyed. Chan-wook's film looks at the consquences of this. On one level the behaviour of the priest is shocking, but the film is much more conservative in its approach to its subject matter. When the girl, played enigmatically by Shin Ha-kyn, also crosses the moral divide she too is haunted by guilt, despite her lack of faith. Its sense of the consequence of transgression is clearly indicated.

The movie is beautifully shot and moves at a gentle pace throughout its two plus hours. This isn't one of those predictably violent vampire films although there is a fair ammount of blood shed in closing part of the film. For many horror fans this may feel too sedately paced and confusing. That's probably due to the vampiric plot being an opportunity to explore the key theme of actions having tragic, deep rooted consequences. Here the film's meditative pace and feel occupy exactly the right place. An unusal and atmospheric piece of work from a man who is still definately at the top of his game.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Korean originality, 22 Feb 2010
By 
PJ Rankine (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Although vampires do seem to be flavour of the month at the moment there isn't much in the way of originality in the genre. Once again it takes a foreign director to inject something new and I predict that this film will have a toned down Hollywood re-make within a few years. I suspect the hero/villain being a priest would be a little too near the mark for US audiences and the sex scenes too probably. At just over two hours long this is not an easy film to watch as it takes its time setting the scenes and exploring the storyline with great detail and the minutae of Korean social life may not be to all tastes. That said its a journey worth taking as it explores its themes of love, betrayal and morality. Kang-ho Song is an excellent actor but his appearance may not appeal to western tastes whereas Ok-bin KIm as his lover is perfectly cast as her features suit both her role as downtrodden orphan and vampiric minx. The print is superb and what your hi-def tv is made for, its presented in letter box format which in this case is an advantage as most of the subtitles appear on the lower black bar. The DTS-HD Master audio track is also excellent. Only two extras are included, an interview with the director and a ten minute excerpt from a master class he held.
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, 26 Dec 2009
By 
J. Clarke "Alright Sally" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
First off, this film isn't a black comedy. It's a Korean Drama.

It's clear that 'some' people just don't understand that there are many cultural differences in cinema, because Thirst is a gritty and slightly disturbing drama. Why? When a priest, the main protagonist, survives a scourge of a disease effectively vampirism, he must realize that to survive he can no longer stick to the traditions of his religious duty. So a priest getting brutally invited to a world of sin or suffer a painful side effect of the disease with outbreaks of huge ulcers and tumours, crushing vital organs. I'll admit that there are several humorous moments throughout but it's difficult, nigh impossible to class this under a comedy genre. So other review bashing aside, Thirst really pulls you in after about 20 minutes when the priest undergoes the symptoms. There is some truly gripping, almost groundbreaking scenes, many sex scenes of course noting the priest's sexual innocence which makes for some deservedly award winning acting. There is also a grim yet heartening love story between Sang-hyun and his mysterious childhood friend tae-ju. The two go through an explicit romance at first but things pick up and tension, along with the vampirism, eventually cause huge rifts in the relationship.

This is when the fantastic final scenes come together for a top ending, with Sang-hyun completely caught off guard at tae-ju's willingness for his lifestyle yet polar opposite ways of living it. Hugely original take on the vampire origins, Strange but fitting musical score throughout, and superb acting make this film good enough to break out of Korea and into our cinemas. Well worth a watch but on occasion, can be too serious a leap from traditional film-making. It's better if you have a backlog of Korean films on your shelf to really appreciate it.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You want to love it - but it's like the end of the hot-dog, lacking in mustard and relish we had in the middle., 15 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. C. Michael Douse "Passionate" (st albans, hertfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirst [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
'Thirst' is a vapid, vane attempt at broadening his established appeal over-seas. With recycled cast and a failed attempt at recreating the juxtaposed macabre charm seen in his last popular films, 'Thirst' is left feeling like a self righteous attempt at a drunken, incoherent anecdote.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Chan-wook because of his mellow-toned and classically pedantic attention to detail in terms of photography and colour scheme - with every scene playing off with Takeshi Kitano reminiscent suspense, with altered sets designed by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen on a hang over. As with Tarsem's 'The Fall', his work has left me gasping for air after a visual feast of subtle accuracy and juxtaposed symbolism, environments, emotions and sociological faux-pas. Questioning the unquestionable taboos of world society, Chan-wook flips through conceptual situations with a rapid heart-beat, imploring the audience to accept the beauty in the disgusting.

The Vengeance trilogy, and indeed Cyborg would have us believe that Chan-Wook is a modern cinematic genius, and indeed he is - but this particular piece of work does not reflect that.

The humour is blatant, animated and too relevant to the story. The characters are merely puppets or vehicles in which the story rides. There is no depth, no alternative logic and only a few moments where the photography makes your heart skip a beat. The Moho Baroque Ensemble has produced a much lesser score than the beautifully composed 'Sympathy For Lady Vengeance' - leaving this writer with a completely unfulfilled appetite.

To conclude upon specifics; the violence is nullified by the insincerity of the characters - visually and controversially, 'Thirst' is nothing compared to the predeceasing works, with a few drips of blood here and there. The sets are much more bland - or realistic, if you'd prefer that term. Overall the film is a lot less stylised. 'Thirst' is very, very slow - but not in a David Lynch/Takeshi Kitano 'A Scene at the Sea' slow - more of an unnecessary pace which feels as though no definitive direction was taken. A very poor dynamic, perhaps due to editorial failures.

As summarised, thirst felt like a compromised effort from a group of people who tried to create something which worked much better as a concept than a cinematic presentation.
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Thirst [DVD] [2009]
Thirst [DVD] [2009] by Chan-Wook Park (DVD - 2010)
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