1. See it
2. Savor it
3. Spread the word
I got to see it a few nights ago at a pre-release screening in New York, and really cannot say enough good things about the film. It's the story of Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) a priest who volunteers for a medical experiment seeking a cure for a virus. The only survivor out of 500 volunteers, his efforts do not lead to a cure, but instead turn him into a vampire. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to sensual pleasures, particularly those offered by the delectable flesh of Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin) the wife of one of his childhood friends. And, of course, he has a powerful thirst for human blood.
Entertaining, with wonderful comic moments, it's not at all pandering or low-brow. Thoughtful and intelligent, neither is it pretentious. Thirst is quite simply a perfect synthesis, simultaneously both a genre and an art-house film, but one that transcends the faults that often mar both.
There are no traditional vampire teeth and no transformations into bats to be found here. On the other hand there are, in addition to the great comic relief moments I've already alluded to, scenes of magnificent sensuality as well as others that are truly terrifying. And the special effects are perfect, somewhat low-key so they're really effective.
Both leads actors are outstanding, but Ms. Kim is particularly impressive, probably because her role calls for greater range and transformation than . The supporting cast also is stellar. Kim Hae-sook plays Madame Ra, Tae-ju's mother-in law, who has a tendency to overindulge in alcohol. Shin Ha-kyun is Kang-woo, her son and Tae-ju's poor excuse for a husband. Oh Dai-soo (who starred in Park's Oldboy) is a member of the mahjong group that includes the other characters.
Park Chan-wook has done it again: Thirst is nothing less than a transcendant masterwork. I predict that this film will be very successful in the U.S. and that it'll find a broader audience than one might normally expect. It most definitely deserves both. (It wasn't for nothing that the film won the Jury Prize award at the 2009 Cannes International Film Festival.)
After opening in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, it will go into wider release in many other cities. Check your local listings, or use the link to the film's official website provided below to find out when and where it'll be playing near you.
DO NOT MISS THIS FILM!!!!!
OPENING DAY SCHEDULE: Friday, July 31st, 2009
Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema (143 East Houston Street, near 2nd Avenue)
Laemmle’s Sunset 5 (8000 Sunset Boulevard, at Crescent Heights)
Landmark’s Bridge Theatre (3010 Geary Boulevard, near Blake Street)
THIRST Official Site
THIRST Clip: “VAMPIRES ARE CUTER THAN I THOUGHT”
THIRST Clip: “I’M NOT CATHOLIC”
THIRST Production Notes
THIRST Facebook Page