“The Handmaiden” plays like a sexually charged Rashomon. A pickpocket, a con artist and a wealthy figure intertwine in an effort to steal a way into the better life. What follows is a look at how perspective and station pushes people to extreme measures. While I have never bought into the Park Chan-Wook online love train, this is the kind of film that can win me over. Sorry, Oldboy fans.

The ability to twist a novel like Fingersmith into quite possibly the most daring Korean film of the 21st century is thrilling. Look at other major World and American directors that tried to restage popular fiction. Adaptation is a tricky mistress, especially when you’re improving upon the text. Park Chan-Wook knew how to use his culture’s period taboos to play into the classic tale of semi-sexual intrigue.

The fact that America isn’t getting an HD disc equivalent of what the rest of the world got to see is quite stunning. Hell, I know that Park Chan-Wook has said a longer cut of the film exists. If the market is there and interest is rising, why can’t SONY cater to the market that continues to buy this stuff? Normally, this is where I tell the hardcore readers to import a Blu, but give it a bit. Everything about this film screams a Criterion re-release in a year.


  • Nothing


  • 2.39:1 standard definition transfer
  • Dolby Digital 5.1


  • 91%
    Video - 91%
  • 89%
    Audio - 89%
  • 0%
    Supplemental Material - 0%
  • 95%
    Film Score - 95%

The Plot Thus Far

A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.


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