Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director
Reader Rating1 Votes

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director. Decision to Leave movie is subtle. Not so subtle as to be boring, it’s anything. But subtle enough as to be incomprehensible if you don’t point your brain at it. So, in order to help talk it through, and to make sure that it makes sense, I’ve walked through this awesome movie, and discussed a number of different theories in order to try and make sense of it. But if you haven’t seen it, make sure you do, and then come back… please! Thanks for that kindness.

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director

Hae-Jun has a problem. The guy? He can’t sleep, and the dude is suffering. Hae-Jun works in Busan as a police detective, and his wife? She’s in Ipo. And she works at a nuclear power plant employee… making nuclear reactions, and such. So, once a week, they meet up and he makes her fresh, hot soup, and they make love because it’s good for his heart rate, and over all health. Or something. She would like him to move to Ipo, and for him to get a job there… why? So he can make her soup ever night, that’s why! Silly. 

Anyway, Hae-Jun and his police detective partner, Too-Wan, pick up a case where a retired immigration officer, Ki Do Soo, is found dead. He has apparently fallen to his death off of a cliff… or mountain… or something steep anyway. The man apparently regularly climbed the precipice, but this time? It got the better of him. And his wife? Seo-Rae? She happens to be much, much younger? She seems incredibly unaffected by his death. Did I also mention that she has really malicious looking bruises and wounds hidden behind her clothes? Better yet, she has a tattoo of her husband’s initials… which seems awfully similar to how the man marked literally everything else in his life. Monogrammed luggage? Check. Monogrammed wife? Check! 

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director

After Hae-Jun has a number of other interviews with Seo-Rae, and he begins seeing her at fairly inappropriate moments… and he begins staking out the various locations in her life. But Seo-Rae isn’t a complete idiot… she notices him outsider her building, and sees another of his investigators as well. Well, come to find out, that Seo-Rae actually has an alibi … one of her clients states that she was with them during the time that her husband, Ki, died. 

But Seo-Rae absolutely does not do herself ANY FAVORS WHATSOEVER when she admits to Hae-Jun that she in fact killed her mother back in China. How? Fentanyl. Now, her story is that her mother was terminally ill and that her mother asked her to kill her. How would that story hold up in court? Not at all. Zero holding up would happen there. But before she passed away, she told her daughter to go to Korea, and to claim her birthright that her Korean grandfather had given to her. Seo-Rae hands over to Hae-Jun letters from her husband admitting that he was corrupt. Even better, one of the letters is seen to be, by Hae-Jun anyway, a suicide note that he sent to another co-worker. And as a result (and mainly due to his obvious infatuation) Hae-Jun rules that Ki’s death was obviously a suicide. (Do we mention here, or elsewhere, that Hae-Jun’s partner has serious doubts about this verdict of innocent by Hae-Jun on behalf of Seo-Rae.) 

Now, that the pesky question of Seo-Rae’s guilt has been dealt with, Hae-Jun is free to invite her on a date to a Buddhist temple… which I would have bet multiple appendages wasn’t a thing two hours ago. They visit each other’s homes. And more intimate yet? Seo-Rae burns Hae-Jun’s photographic evidence of her husband’s death. Why? She wants to free Hae-Jun of his horrible insomnia, and she wants to free him in order to allow him to sleep! (Uh-huh.) 

Welp, come one Monday, Hae-Jun stands in for her Monday client… her alibi mind you, and Hae-Jun realizes that this alibiffic individual? Isn’t a beatific alibi in the least. Why? Because he sees that this client has definite dementia and has zero idea what day of the week it even is. Better yet, he sees that she walked up 138 flights of stairs on the day that Ki died. 138?!? No, that can’t be possible. Actually, it was Seo-Rae that swapped out their phones in order to not leave a trail behind her. He’s getting the idea that Seo-Rae actually did climb the mountain and push her husband off to his death. Better yet, he confronts her and says that she is the cause of her husband’s death. But instead of taking her in, and booking her, Hae-Jun tells her to dump her phone into the sea, and protect herself. 

The narration and timeline now leaps forward a year – Hae-Jun finally has moved to Ipo in order to live with Jung-An. Why? Well, because he has developed depression and he has also become ever more of an insomniac than before… which, is saying something. And while out together at the fish market, Jung-An runs into Seo-Rae with her new husband, Ho-Shin who is a fairly well off investor. The next day, Ho-Shin is found dead in his pool. The case is given to Hae-Jun (which, I’m sorry, is a leap of logic that I found difficult to believe… is this movie attempting to be Basic Instinct here? What is going on now?) Regardless, Hae-Jun is now convinced that Seo-Rae is guilty and that she should be prosecuted. But when he talks with her, she admits to only draining the pool so that Hae-Jun won’t be disturbed by the blood. Soon after, a Chinese immigrant confesses to the investors murder. Ho-Shin had apparently defrauded his late mother of millions. And the Chinese immigrant also covers for Seo-Rae, saying that she had nothing to do with her new husband’s murder. The only involvement she had was that the confessed murderer had placed a tracker on Seo-Rae’s phone in order to find where Ho-Shin lived. 

NOW, YOU NEED TO CONCENTRATE A BIT HERE… because this ending gets a little bit complicated to follow. But you can do it, I believe in you! Hae-Jun finds and confronts Seo-Rae at a mountain. The two embrace, and she tells him that she has kept the phone with the original incriminating evidence of her guilt from Ki’s death. And she tells him that he should re-investigate her guilt. And with that… the two kiss. Wait, what? Worse, Hae-Jun’s wife leaves him because she is suspicious of his affair. Something just isn’t right. 

Soon after, Hae-Jun learns from Ho-Shin’s murderer that Seo-Rae had visited his mother in the hospital the day she died, and he believes that Seo-Rae had given his mother the rest of the fentanyl pills, and had killed her. Why? Because Seo-Rae knew that the Chinese immigrant would kill Ho-Shin immediately after his mother passed away. (Remember, Ho-Shin embezzled millions from her?) Knowing this, and realizing that regardless of whether or not she murdered her husbands, she definitely was involved with a couple mother-murders… her own and this Chinese immigrant’s mother as well. 

Utilizing the tracker in Seo-Rae’s phone, Hae-Jun races to the beach to find her. Meanwhile, they talk on the phone and she tells him that her second husband, Ho-Shin, had discovered a recording where Hae-Jun had confessed his love to Seo-Rae. And that he had planned to tell everyone about their affair. But Hae-Jun can’t recall ever telling her that he loved her… so, he’s baffled. But Seo-Rae is clear that as he stopped loving her, she began loving him. Now at the beach, Hae-Jun discovers her car and phone, the phone which has the recording of his instructions to her about destroying the evidence. Meanwhile, Seo-Rae is out on the shore digging a pit, in order for the pit to bury and drown her as the tide rises. Hae-Jun cannot find Seo-Rae, where has she gone? But he is obviously unaware that he is standing directly over top of her drowned body. And as the movie ends, he cries out in angst, aware that she has taken her own life. 

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director

Theories to explain Decision to Leave

Firstly, it should be obvious that Seo-Rae is playing 4D chess to Hae-Jun’s checkers. But why? She obviously sees directly through his attentions and ministrations. So, as the film is unreeling, the main question on the table is simple enough – is Seo-Rae manipulating this cop in order to duck and weave her coming judgement for her crimes? Or, is she actually, falling for him as well? It’s sort of a black and white question.

Also – a note that needs to be made clear for us non-Korean/Chinese language speakers… Seo-Rae is constantly apologizing for her inability to speak Korean well. It isn’t clear to us that her Korean is actually really clumsy. Malformed. And there are important keys to understanding this movie in that one fact. Park, the director and writer of the film says about her Korean: “There are instances in the movie where she will use a particular word, but in a strange context. So when someone hears it, they would think it’s wrong at first. The more they hear it, the more they can realize there’s actually a new meaning to that word. All this might be difficult to get through the subtitles, but I’m sure all of you have also had a similar experience with listening to a foreigner trying to speak English, and it doesn’t quite sound correct.” Heck, apparently, since the release of his screenplay, the ultra-formal Korean has actually become trendy as a result of the film.

Theory #1 – Decision to Leave – It Just Is

Believe it or not – this is the #1 one theory that almost every single viewer of this movie will religiously adhere to without knowing it. And the theory is simply explained in a simple sentence: “It just is.” And a quick follow up after a sigh being – “Who knows?” And the sad thing here is that there is so much going on. Stop being so LAZY everyone! Gah. So frustrating. I will go out on a limb and tell you – this is the most wrong theory there is. It’s, like, literally 100% wrong. Park actually has an idea and a vision for this ending. It really is knowable. And it doesn’t take much to solve the riddle. Just keep reading and you’ll see.

Theory #2 – Decision to Leave – An Attempt at Reparations

Another possibility is simple enough… could Seo-Rae, a murderer, be attempting to right herself with her love? Think it through for a second with me.

Seo-Rae, at the start of the film isn’t interested with Hae-Jun at all. He’s a means to an end. So she uses him. But when their relationship pivoted on a gimbal, swiveled back the other way – aka – she fell in love with him, but he fell out of love… she realized they were completely out of kilter. Her a murderer. Him a detective. And in the reality of that love, she recognized the abuse towards him that she had doled out. She used him selfishly and completely. And when her dawning came – her epiphany – she realized that if she really did love him, she made her decision to leave. It was the only selfless move left.

Theory #3 – Decision to Leave – An Unsolvable Murder Mystery Love Story

Really keen viewers realize something pretty startlingly simple. Seo-Rae admitted as much that she had fallen in love at exactly the point when Hae-Jun fell out of love with her. Star-crossed lovers. She tells him that in her final message to him. But it could also be that Seo-Rae realized that they were yin-yang’ing each other… she was black to his white… or vice versa. She is a murderer. And him? A police detective. But here’s the key to Theory Three. Seo-Rae understands that Hae-Jun is obsessed (a man on fire) when it comes to old cold cases.

So Seo-Rae left him an impossible case for him to try and solve… is she alive? Is she dead? Did she abandon him and head to Paraguay? Did she walk into the sea? Is she still out there murdering whole swaths of society? Hae-Jun has literally no way of knowing. None. Look at her murder method in detail… she dug a deep hole, and allowed the tide to entomb her perfectly. It’s a mystery that will stick with him for the rest of his life. WHAT HAPPENED TO HER? And voila, he is transfixed with her all over again. He will be obsessed. Hae-Jun had been out chess’d on a checkerboard… thoroughly outgunned.

Theory #4 – Decision to Leave – It’s Actually A Love Story

Park Chan-woo is on the record that he was attempting to create a love story that never said that it was a love story. He never wanted to have the characters vocalize, “I Love You.” So the movie was supposed to be an attempt at what we see, what we observe, not what we are told. Therefore, knowing that – reevaluate everything that you experienced over the course of the movie…

Now, in the scene where Hae-Jun confronts Seo-Rae about her having killed her first husband… he reminds her about how she had complimented her husband on his honor. Remember that? Well, he correlated that to the way he tried to work as a detective. Honorably. And it’s true, that throughout the film, Hae-Jun is working hard to investigate these murders honorably. Except for in his dealings with her. That is the one massive exception to his career and he is furious that he became so enamored with her. So enamored that he totally misses evidence, and has a blind-spot to how guilty she is. And then, when he pieced it all together, he helped her cover up the evidence to her guilt. And, in so doing, he ditched everything he held dear in order to keep her safe. If that isn’t the definition of love, I got nothing else for you. He never actually told her he loved her, but he told her that he loved her. So while technically Hae-Jun is correct, he never told her that he loved her, but he couldn’t be more wrong in saying he never told her he loved her.

But if it’s a love story – then!??? Why did she kill herself? Well, Seo-Rae’s final act is yet another declaration of love, but from her understated perspective on doing, not saying. She planned her death very specifically. She patiently awaits the tides arrival in order to fulfill her plan. Better yet, she had told Hae-Jun earlier on that she had come to Ipo in order to become one of his unsolved cases. She said it outright what she was going to do. To throw the evidence somewhere where no one would ever find it… (in accordance with his advice, no?) In this theory, it is Seo-Rae spelling it out for him in no uncertain terms… I love you too.

Theories to Explain Decision to Leave Movie From Oldboy Director – Final Thoughts

Seo-Rae has almost certain committed four different murders… two husbands and two mothers. But even though Hae-Jun is madly in love with this enigma, he is cleft in twain (come on, that’s just fun to say… try it with me… out loud… “CLEFT IN TWAIN!” gah, that feels good) by the guilt of it. He can’t determine, should he arrest her? Let her go free? Horrible. They are Romeo and Juliet, determined by the fates to an unhappy life, or a quick death.

I loved this movie, its attention to details. I loved the screenplay, the acting, the ambiguity of it. The Basic Instinct downward spiral possibilities, but its complete appositeness of that grotesquery. This, instead, was subtle, and nuanced, and confusing. It left the viewer doubting themselves and everything going on. While at the same time, not being too complex to get it, if just a little more thought was applied. I mean, what else did you expect from the writer of Oldboy… possibly one of the most audacious mindjobs THiNC. has ever reviewed?

post script: “The moment you said you loved me, your love ended. And the moment your love ended, my love began.” 

Edited by: CY

Edited by: ??