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Thirst (2009)

17 March 2010 by Phantom Troublemaker No Comment

2009, dir. Chan-wook Park
133 min., Rated R.
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hae-sook Kim, Ha-kyun Shin

Review by Phantom Troublemaker

Dear foreign people,

Stop making boring fucking movies.


Phantom Troublemaker

Well I can’t just let it go at that, can I?

After reading all the ballyhoo and whoop-dee-doo, Mrs. Troublemaker and I finally got to see Park Chan-Wook’s lauded “instant vampire classic” Thirst. Let me be clear: this is a great story. My displeasure comes from the pacing and the fact that you have to spend over two hours (!) looking at mostly ugly people who are dressed in the height of seventies fashion. I suppose if I were Korean or a movie snob I might have enjoyed it more but I am clearly neither of those things. I am not suggesting that all Koreans are movie snobs. Those folks have every right to enjoy this brand of slow, creaky, drawn-out storytelling if that is what their culture digs on. I am, however, suggesting that all movie snobs are Korean. No, wait. Maybe I’m just suggesting movie snobs are more patient than me.

Whatever the problem is, it is clearly mine – and my wife’s – because every other movie-loving individual you speak to will willingly admit to a desire to teabag Mr. Chan-Wook. We both really liked Oldboy, but Sympathy for ____ Vengeances and Cut didn’t do anything for us. Thirst was the same way. The story is fantastic, but the first hour and a half could have happened in ten minutes. I would have preferred to see more about the conflict between the two protagonists. Or maybe just less about everything else. This would have made a great short film, except that I have a feeling the stuff I did like is what would be cut. We probably would have just gotten a bunch of talking and then “poof!”

So this great story I keep talking about: A priest volunteers to have a vaccine tested on him and ends up becoming a vampire. Apparently Korean vampires get disgusting blisters when they are exposed to sunlight, but drinking blood makes them go away (the blisters, not the Korean vampires). After his vampirization, our priest not only has a thirst (get it?) for blood, but also decides he’d rather solve his persistent horniness by just going ahead and fucking his childhood buddies’ wife than continue flagellating his thighs. He and the wife are both orphans, so – given how fucked up Asian people are – Mrs. Troublemaker and I just assumed they were going to end up being brother and sister. I’ll give you this one spoiler: They’re not, and we’re apparently a little racist. You should never lump all Asians in with the Japanese. Especially if your favorite Japanese director is Takashi Miike.

Anyway, you get the requisite awkward Asian sex scene (there I go again!) and awful shenanigans ensue. Eventually you get conflict and resolution and they are satisfying. Like I said, it’s the eventually that is the problem.

I do recommend you see Thirst, because it is a strong story; just make sure the “FF” button on your remote is fully operational before you put the disc in. I really hope we get an American remake because, much like the celluloid Ny-Quil that was Let the Right One In, I think a little Western perspective would make this narrative right up my alley.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Hot Water Bottles

Until next time, stay creepy


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