Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Film Review: THIRST [Bakjwi] (2009)

Thirst - poster Co-Writer/Director: Chan-wook Park
Running time: 133 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Drama
UK Release date: 16th October 2009 (Limited)

Watched on DVD Wednesday 16th November 2011.


I must admit I hadn’t heard much about this film before seeing it. I had seen Chan-wook Park’s film Oldboy [2003] beforehand so I had some ideas about style and knew there was a fair chance of subtitles (yes, there are subtitles). I must admit I’m fast becoming a fan of Park’s work, this was every bit as good, if not better, than many vampire movies I’ve seen before (the one exception being the excellent Tomas Alfredson film, Let the Right One In [2008]). It’s funny how non-English speaking filmmakers are so much better at this genre… But more of my nonsense later, here is a very brief summary first.

Thirst - 1 When a priest, Sang-hyeon, selflessly volunteers for a vaccine development project he could not have predicted the outcome. He gets infected and is transfused with the blood of a vampire. Of course this results in him becoming one himself. Trying to remain true to his faith is hard enough, but it gets more difficult when he finds himself attracted to the wife of one of his parishioners, Kang-woo. The woman in question, Tae-ju, is an orphan who was brought up by Kang-woo’s mother, Lady Ra. It turns out Tae-ju has similar feelings to the priest and he is finding it harder each day to resist both his feelings for Tae-ju and the thirst he has for human blood. I will leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be withholding my blood-ration again.

Thirst - 5 Beautifully made with some great effects, both physical and CGI. I also loved the dialogue; the language is very direct and to the point and I like that. Great performances all round, particularly from; Kang-ho Song as Priest Sang-hyeon, Ok-bin Kim as Tae-ju, Hae-sook Kim as Lady Ra, Ha-kyun Shin as Kang-woo and In-hwan Park as Priest Noh.

Thirst - 2 There was quite a bit more humour in this one than I was expecting, mostly provided by Ha-kyun Shin as Kang-woo. This didn’t detract too much from the more serious love story that evolves on the screen though. I found it interesting in that you never quite know which way the plot is going to turn, and there are quite a few surprises on the way. I must admit I loved the ending, I found it quite touching whilst at the same time a very neat way to tie it up (sorry, no clues). Over all a very entertaining and quite a thought-provoking film with some unexpected turns along the way… Highly recommended for any fan of the genre.

My Score: 8.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 12,388 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82/100 (based on 105 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

None available…

Official Site:


Rodders said...

yeah, i've heard quite great things from this film. Loved the directors other film, oldboy, so i look forward to seeing this one, great review

Aditya Gokhale said...

Fantastic review man..I just recently put this on my list, being a fan of Oldboy but never having other featurelength films of this filmmaker.

Thanks for the review!