Park Chan-wook returns to his native Korea following his recent Hollywood foray, 2013’s heady Gothic thriller Stoker, for The Handmaiden, an exquisitely seductive adaptation of British writer Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel Fingersmith.
The book’s basic setup remains the same. A young pickpocket is recruited by a debonair con-artist to take part in his scheme to seduce a wealthy heiress and swindle her out of her fortune. Here, though, the action has been relocated from Victorian England to 1930s Korea, then under Japanese colonial rule.
Throbbing with greed and passion, deception and betrayal, the story remains every bit as gripping on screen as it was on the page.
Certificate 18. Runtime 145 mins. Director Park Chan-wook