Co-written and directed by Park Chan-wook, ‘Decision To Leave’ is a romantic mystery movie that explores detective Jang Hae-jun’s experiences as he solves a murder case in the mountains. When he meets the victim’s wife, Song Seo-rae, he realizes that he is developing feelings for the mysterious woman. The investigation turns out to be difficult as everyone believes that the detective’s standpoint has been compromised.
Starring Tang Wei and Park Hae-il, the South Korean movie stands true to its genre with various murder mysteries and romantic elements sown in the plot of the story. It stands out among other movies of the same type due to its magnificent storytelling and engaging characters. If you want to watch movies that revolve around themes similar to this movie, the following suggestions are perfect for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Decision To Leave’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. The Hypnotized (2004)
Originally titled ‘Eolguleobtneun minyeo,’ the romantic thriller movie is written and directed by In-shik Kim. It revolves around a psychiatrist who is unable to assist a patient with mental illness while she is in the hospital. He then develops an obsession with his former patient, searches for her outside of his office, and employs hypnosis to gratify his sexual fantasies. Starring Kim Hye-su, Kim Tae-woo, and Chang Yun, the Korean movie interlaces the aspects of thrill and romance just like ‘Decision To Leave.’
7. Scarlet Innocence (2014)
Directed by Pil-sung Yim, ‘Scarlet Innocence’ heeds the genres of drama and romance thriller. After a passionate romance, University Professor Hak-kyu deserts small-town girl Deokee, who seeks revenge on him eight years later when he develops blindness. The movie features a forbidden romance between a professor and a student and aspects of fulfilling one’s sexual desires. Furthermore, the movie’s central aspect is the girl’s reaction to rejection and her subsequent resolve for revenge. These facets contribute to her growing obsession with the professor, as Jang gets obsessed with Song in ‘Decision To Leave.’
6. Laura (1944)
Directed by Otto Preminger, ‘Laura’ is a film-noir mystery based on the 1943 novel by Vera Caspary. In the film, Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews), a Manhattan investigator, looks into the murder of extravagant Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) in her lavish apartment. For that purpose, he interviews Laura’s haughty best friend and her relatively gentle fiancé as suspects in her murder investigation.
As the officer becomes preoccupied with the case, he begins to fall in love with the deceased woman. The detective falling for a woman related to the case is an aspect similar in both ‘Decision To Leave’ and ‘Laura.’ The difference is that Song is a possible suspect in the former, while Laura is the victim in the latter movie.
5. Wicker Park (2004)
Helmed by Paul McGuigan, ‘Wicker Park’ is a story of obsession and grief. It is based on Gilles Mimouni’s 1996 french film, titled ‘L’Appartement,’ which is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ The film centers on Matthew and Lisa, who are in a passionate relationship. However, Lisa vanishes all of a sudden, sending Matthew into an emotional stupor.
Matthew immediately embarks on an obsessive search for her. One day, the anxious lover thinks he caught a glimpse of Lisa in a restaurant and becomes obsessed with her all over again. He snoops about till he finds the mystery woman from the restaurant. The love and subsequent obsession are similar in both ‘Decision To Leave’ and ‘Wicker Park.’
4. The Handmaiden (2016)
‘Ah-ga-ssi’ or ‘The Handmaiden’ is inspired by Sarah Waters’s 2002 novel ‘Fingersmith.’ Directed by Park Chan-wook, the movie features a lady who is recruited to serve as a handmaiden for a Japanese heiress. However, she is actually complicit in a scheme to scam the woman. It stars Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, and Cho Jin-woong in central roles and sheds light on the impact and consequences of ulterior motives. Additionally, it has a sexual facet interspersed with the plot as well. Apart from being helmed by the same filmmaker, both ‘The Handmaiden’ and ‘Decision To Leave’ focus on people’s darkest desires which may arise unintentionally.
3. Dead Again (1991)
Kenneth Branagh’s crime mystery movie features Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in lead roles. A private detective shoulders the responsibility of finding out more about a mute woman’s past. She regains her voice with the assistance of a hypnotist and recalls vivid flashbacks of a couple marred by a murder in the 1940s. As the detective grows fond of the woman, whom he calls Grace, he learns that he is related to the unfortunate couple from the 1940s. Love blossoms between the detective and the woman protagonist, just as Jang and Song from ‘Decision To Leave.’
2. White Night (2009)
In a distant town, a pawnbroker is discovered slain. Three suspects are observed, but they all have impeccable alibis; thus, the investigation is halted. After several years have passed, the detective determines to re-investigate. His relentless pursuit draws attention to the case again and exposes a hidden relationship that appears to be linked to the surrounding crimes.
The murder mystery is helmed by Shin-woo Park. Furthermore, the movie is adapted from a Japanese novel titled ‘Journey Under the Midnight Sun’ by Keigo Higashino. The overarching murder mystery is resoundingly similar to ‘Decision To Leave.’ Moreover, the lead detectives in both movies are perseverant and determined in their pursuit.
1. Vertigo (1958)
Directed by one of the greatest suspense filmmakers, Alfred Hitchcock, the story centers on Scottie, an ex-police investigator who has vertigo and acrophobia. He works as a private detective to track Madeleine Elster, who has been acting strangely. When Scottie finds himself in the midst of murder, deception, and treachery with a dash of unexpected turns, he completely collapses.
The movie explores the tribulations of battling inner demons while struggling to solve the case. Additionally, the novel ‘D’Entre Les Morts’ by Pierre Boileau forms the basis of the movie. The murder mystery element coupled with the detective falling for Madeleine in ‘Vertigo’ is very similar to the facets of ‘Decision To Leave.’
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