Roughly one third of the way through the current incarnation of the Cannes Film Festival, Park Chan Wook’s Thirst is already shaping up to be one of the most divisive films of the year with supporters and naysayers split fairly evenly and very few in between. And for good reason. On the plus side Thirst is indeed a truly original take on the vampire film from a true cinematic master blessed with a stellar cast. Moments of undeniably brilliance are sprinkled throughout. On the negative side, early reports of extreme violence and extreme sexuality were grossly exaggerated — though both are present in a significant degree — leading to false expectations of the film while, more importantly, it also proves to be an over-long film plagued by frequent tonal shifts, particular ineffective forays into comedy, and some surprisingly poor work from the wire and CG crews responsible for the super-power vampire leaps. unfortunately I must count myself on the negative side.
Honestly, I’m not too surprised. I’m a big fan of Park’s earlier films, particularly JSA and OldBoy. But after Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, I started to get the feeling that he was stuck in a rut when it comes to the dark and disturbing stuff.