Director: Chan-wook Park Running Time: 133 min Year of Release: 2009
Those who go into Thirst expecting a straight-up horror film or a gritty-white knuckle thriller will be sorely disappointed, more than anything, Chan-wook Park's latest is a offbeat, brutal black comedy. A catholic priest presiding over a hospital volunteers for a series risky, controversial medical experiments after he becomes deeply troubled with the death he sees around him and the sense of powerlessness it evokes in him. He ends up the sole survivor of the nefarious tests due to the fact that somewhere along the way he was transfused with vampire blood. Struggling with his new identity and the less than saintly implications it has, he meets a young woman whom he knew in childhood;now living a hellish existence with her adopted family; a clan of utterly despicable people to say the least. It isn't before long they strike up a intense, dangerous love affair that consumes them both; with bloody consequences.
First of all Chan-wook Park is a truly gifted filmmaker and his talents behind the camera are on full display in this film. Thirst is gorgeous to look at with Park contact filling the screen with lush, rich detail, moody atmosphere and some breathtaking shots and set pieces. The acting is stellar as well, Kang-Ho Song giving a passionate, riveting performance as the protagonist and Ok-vin Kim's erotically charged turn as Tae-joo, his lover. Thirst's packs a mean bite(pun intended) with it's undercurrent of black humor while at the same time offering a poignant, intelligent reflection on themes such as guilt, religion, lust, love, family, sacrifice and mortality. It's a shame Thirst suffers from some rather sloppy pacing and its noticeably over-long. If park structured the film more rigidly and efficiently, the film would have considerably more punch. Though flawed, Thirst is still a memorable and at times thought provoking experience.
Thirst is widely availiable on dvd.