Sacrifice, sin, and the possibililty of redemption - a blood
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 10/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sang-Hyun, a Roman Catholic priest, develops urgent cravings after he selflessly volunteers to be guinea pig in a dangerous medical experiment. He resists at first, but thirst has a way of overcoming both scruples and vows. It's a story about faith and redemption, a deeply romantic and moving love story ... and a story about murder, mayhem and sex. Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK), won the Jury Prize at Cannes for this stylish and bloody reinvention of the vampire mythos.
This is Park Chan-Wook at the top of his game, and to my mind the very best of an outstanding resume. The acting is superb, with Korea's leading actor Kang-ho Song (The Host, and Memories of Murder) as the priest and Ok-Vin Kim as his lover and nemesis. The imagery is powerful and provocative; the camera plunges, leaps and crawls and yet the camera's smooth but relentless tracking of its subject matter never interrupts the precise and stylized framings, and always works in the service of the story. Constantly surprising for its unique approach to capturing what is on screen, the cinematography never feels like a gimmick, or like style for its own sake (a complaint one might raise about some of Park Chan-Wook's earlier works, however fascinating they are). This is a film that will affect you - it is provocative, funny, frightening, and always fascinating. Highly recommended for lovers of inventive cinema; not for the timid or squeamish."
A Beautiful Take on the Vampire Mythology by Master Director
Mr. Chainsaw | Chicagoland, IL | 12/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Father Sang-hyeon is a priest with a bleeding heart. He cares for his patients and does what's in his power to do whatever they ask. EV, the Emmanuel Virus, covers its victims from the waist up with blisters, causes ulcers and hemorrhages in muscle tissue, and even causes victims to vomit blood and die from excessive bleeding if the virus spreads to the internal organs. Sang-hyeon volunteers at the Emmanuel Lab in hopes of finding a treatment for the disease, but winds up contracting the disease himself and dying in the process. The blood he receives during the transfusion, however, miraculously brings him back from the edge of death. While being the lone survivor of the ordeal, the story detailing Sang-hyeon's journey gets more and more spectacular. He comes to the realization that drinking blood makes the blisters that cover his body disappear and that he has superhuman abilities. The transfusion has made Sang-hyeon a vampire. He stays with a childhood friend while struggling with finding ways to quench his hunger for blood in addition to falling in love with Tae-Joo, his best friend's wife.
If anyone sits down with me and has a conversation with me about movies, it's only a matter of time before I reveal that Oldboy is quite possibly my favorite film of all time. So it should be no surprise that I'm willing to see anything the director, Chan-wook Park, or lead actors, Choi Min-sik and Ji-Tae Yu, are involved with. Mainly because of my love for Oldboy, but also because I'm rarely disappointed with anything they are a part of. So when I heard Chan-wook Park was tackling a vampire film, I was thrilled and even more thrilled that he managed to deliver another solid film to his already impressive filmography.
The cinematography is the film's shining feature. Park really knows his stuff when it comes to shooting memorable scenes from behind a camera. Every shot is filled with vibrant colors that leap off of the screen. Every frame of the film seems to tell a story all on its own. I hope there's a Blu-ray release of this film because it will look fantastic. It's rather intriguing to see which elements of the vampire mythology Park used for his vision. Sang-hyeon has to drink blood to survive and to stay looking flawless, has incredible strength, and is vulnerable to sunlight. He doesn't, however, have fangs and also has a reflection in the mirror.
Although I've never seen the film, I couldn't help but feel like this was Chan-wook Park's version of Twilight. The entire middle portion of the film is devoted to Sang-hyeon's and Tae-Joo's love for one another. It felt like the adult version of Twilight, really. There's a lot of blood, nudity, sex, and even a few obscenities thrown in for good measure. Maybe it's the Chan-Wook Park fanboy in me, but I honestly feel like I can guarantee that this is the better film of the two. The psychological aspect that I love about Park's previous films is in Thirst, as well. That's a major factor for me as any film that causes me to think or is unusual in any way winds up becoming a fan favorite. The soundtracks to Park's films always seem to fit its respective film like a glove. Thirst is no exception. While the soundtrack is a bit more subtle this time around, it fit the overall atmosphere of the film rather effortlessly.
The middle portion of the film did seem to drag on longer than everything else in the film. It's weird though as the scenes during that time are crucial to the storyline of the film and it's hard to imagine Thirst being the same film if any of those scenes were cut. Nevertheless, it is my one nitpick of the film.
Chan-wook Park bites into the vampire mythology with Thirst and puts his own dark, psychological twist on it. Park's films always seem to have a specific formula or include most of the following: great writing, beautiful cinematography, a solid cast, some sort of psychological twist that'll mess with your head, and a memorable ending. Thirst delivers on all fronts and will hopefully get more of the attention it deserved during its theatrical run on DVD (and eventually Blu-ray, hopefully).
(Written by Chris Sawin)"
An original vampire story from Asia!
John Lindsey | Socorro, New Mexico USA. | 04/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
Catholic Priest Sang Hyeon (Kang-Ho Song) has volunteered to be part of an experiment in hoping that can be a vaccine against a disease in Africa. He takes it yet it somehow makes his skin all warty as the disease takes over as the only way he can get rid of it is by drinking blood from blood-bags at the local hospital in his town. He decides to give up priesthood and became a regular man so he can be with a girl he desires named Tae-Ju (Ok-Bin Kim) as he shares his vampire secret with her of how he can drain blood, how his wounds heal instantly, how he can leap tall buildings in single bounds and even burn in the sunlight like in the vampire legends.
A brilliant and very original South Korean made supernatural dark horror-comedy-drama from legendary Korean filmmaker known as Chan-Wook Park (Oldboy). This is a different take on the vampire legend as it's more on the biological side much like David Cronenberg's "Rabid" or the recent "Daybreakers" except that Sang doesn't have fangs like in the Bram Stoker Dracula tradition but still plays on the parts like any vampire would be. It's also a vampire love story in the tradition of 2008's Swedish hit "Let The Right One In" and came in the 2 years of big vampire mania with stuff like "True Blood", "Twilight" and even "Vampire Diaries" making vampires big again. It's got strong sex scenes with a dose of bloody violence and good performances, the film has an artsy feel to it that just makes it seem different yet stylish as i recommend this movie to vampire fanatics or Asian cinema lovers.
This DVD contains the film in it's Korean language version with subtitles but it's got zero extras at all.
Also recommended: "Let The Right One In", "Daybreakers", "Rabid", "The Hunger", "Vampires (John Carpenter)", "Lifeforce", "Vamp", "Fright Night 1 & 2", "Dracula (1931)", "Nosferatu (1922 and 1979)", "Near Dark", "Twilight Saga", "Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992 movie with show)", "Razor Blade Smile", Hammer Dracula movies, "Vampire Lovers", "The Lost Boys", "Once Bitten", "Blood The Last Vampire (Both versions)", "Vampire's Kiss", "The Fearless Vampire Killers", "Vampire Hunter D 1 & 2", "Interview with the Vampire", "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "Def By Temptation", "Vampire Circus", "Vampyres", "Bordello of Blood", "Vampire Journals", "Modern Vampires", "Embrace of the Vampire", "The Habbit", "Immortality (a.k.a. Wisdom of Crocodiles)" and "Blade Trilogy"."