Wick-Quoting #10: Thirst (Bakjwi)

Films that aim at a specific audience do so in order to ensure tickets are sold.  If that applies to Thirst, then there must be some pretty messed up people out there.  Thirst, or Bakjwi (meaning bat in Korean),  is one of the craziest films that you can watch up to present day.  I didn’t know Park Chan-wook was capable of writing and directing a more disturbing movie than his last, but apparently he was.  Park, a famous Korean director, is know mainly for his 2003 film, Old Boy.

Now don’t just dismiss Thirst just because it’s a film about vampires.  Twilight is the one that ruined the idea towards vampires: kill the messenger, not the message (of vampires).  Thirst has a strong structure with fully developed characters and many psychological twists.  Although the Priest Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho, who also played the main character in another Korean favorite, Gwoemul) is naturally a good person at heart, the actions he carries out tell otherwise.  He kills people, drinks their blood, and engages in sensual activities with Tae-ju, one of the most f-ed up characters you’ll ever see on screen.  She makes Summer from 500 Days of Summer look like an ANGEL.  Actually, she makes pretty much any other character look like a golden retriever. It’s really difficult to take a side with either of Sang-hyeon or Tae-ju and share their pain as most films make you do with their main characters.  Although, I guess Tae-ju makes Sang-hyeon look like a priest, so you’re forced to side with him throughout the film.

To make you side with a murderer, Park is indeed a master of crazed psychology

There is no doubt that Park tried to add new elements to the genre of horror.  Sure, there are some shocking images that can make one feel disgusted, but I’m not talking about horror which films like Saw brings.  I’m talking about horror which the mind experiences from psychological trauma, such as reading (or watching) The Tell-Tale Heart.  This comes largely from the other characters who fall victim to Sang-hyeon and Tae-ju’s deeds.  If you watch the film, you’ll know what I mean.

Uhoh..

I found Thirst to be a better film than Park’s other films in almost every way; it is more: disturbing, dark, and complex.  The story is also very strong, with few loopholes here and there.  Even so, Thirst has only made around 15 million dollars, while Park’s more successful film, Old Boy, has made about 90 million – a really big difference.  However, Old Boy is an older film, which gave it more time to appeal worldwide.

Maybe it's the vampire image that's hurting the film's popularity? Although, that wouldn't make sense

Even though you might lose some innocence after watching Thirst, I still recommend it, especially to people who are not familiar with Park’s style.  However, it is advised to start off with something a little less intense, say Old Boy, to get into the mindset and be able to really appreciate the film – not just watch with awkward disgust.

8.3

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2 Responses to “Wick-Quoting #10: Thirst (Bakjwi)”


  1. 1 PaleOwewomo August 20, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Very Interesting!
    Thank You!


  1. 1 2010 in review « Wick-Quoting Trackback on January 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

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