Thirst Park Chan-wook

Thirst Park Chan-wook
In an oversaturated sea of bloodsuckers, how do the ones with purposeful bite get noticed? Had Thirst not come out during the media's "year of the vampire" and had it not arrived so hot on the heels of the masterpiece that is Let the Right One In, it would have gained attention far and wide as one of the best vampire films ever made. It is, so it will, as soon as a wider audience pushes aside some sparkly, day-walking, emo-romance vamps to see it. Thirst has the potential to connect with a broader audience than its intimate Swedish counterpart. It's too weird to be the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of the horror set but it's in that arena of wowing, elegant art-house epic. The director of Old Boy brings his unique vision to the story of a priest losing his faith. No longer believing prayer a sufficient means of helping the needy, or possibly as an elaborately disguised suicide attempt, father Sang-hyeon volunteers as a test subject in developing a vaccine for a mysterious virus. A blood transfusion is required to save his life once he contracts the fatal disease, which, unbeknownst to any, at first, also changes Sang-hyeon into a vampire. It's a delightfully fresh take on the transformation myth to watch a priest fight the dark impulses blossoming within as his powers slowly manifest and he learns he must drink to subsist. Rich and complex symbolism permeates every frame of this lengthy picture. A twisted, raw and highly erotic love story evolves and Chan-Wook's favourite subject of revenge is bent and reflected in new light. Carefully measured violence is brutal but never excessive, serving the story as much as the love scenes and playful dialogue. The entire cast is excellent, but in his carefully nuanced lead performance, Kang-ho Song continues to prove himself as one of the most versatile actors working today. A deeply moving, exciting and thought-provoking masterpiece that only grows richer with repeat viewings, Thirst's mark will be felt long after the current vampsteria wanes. Too bad the disc is as devoid of special features as some vampires' mouths are fangs lately. (Alliance)