‘Decision to Leave’s knitwear is the real costume standout

Warning: This article accommodates some spoilers for Decision to Leave.

How many film sweaters does it take to make it a sweater film?

In some instances, you solely want one for it to make an impression. In others, it’s extra of an aesthetic (assume the cozy fall vibes embodied in a few of Nora Ephron’s motion pictures). More not too long ago, amount appears to be the key: While Rian Johnson’s 2019 smash hit Knives Out turned infamous for one particular sweater, it featured dozens of sweaters and cardigans. The undeniably cozy MVP of 2022, the darkish comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, additionally goes for amount, and Banshees’ expansive knitwear nods towards a few of Ireland’s textile history.

But The Banshees of Inisherin is removed from the solely nice sweater film of 2022: May I current one other candidate in that regard, Park Chan-wook’s latest movie, Decision to Leave?

Garnering comparisons to the Alfred Hitchcock basic Vertigo in a number of opinions (although Park says it wasn’t an intentional nod), Decision to Leave straddles a number of genres and threads: It’s a suspenseful thriller, a police procedural, a tense experience, and a tragic and doomed romance . The fact behind the loss of life that kicks off the film—a retired immigration official and newbie rock climber fell off the high of a mountain in what initially seems to be like an accident—unfolds round the movie’s midway level. What makes Decision to Leave so gripping is the interactions between Hae-joon (Park Hae-il), a Busan police detective with a extreme case of insomnia, and Seo-rae (Tang Wei), the a lot youthful spouse of the lifeless official who turns into his primary suspect. To say the simmering pressure turns into all-encompassing all through Decision to Leave could be an understatement.

But it’s additionally an impeccably costumed movie. Between Hae-joon’s fits, his spouse Jeong-ahn’s (Lee Jung-hyun) largely neutral-colored sweaters, and—what finally ends up being the centerpiece—the extra brightly coloured attire, skirts, and knitwear that Seo-rae wears, there is lots to draw your eyes by design. Seo-rae’s sweater is usually the brightest factor in the room; in different instances, when she’s alone, she blends in rather more along with her house or the furnishings. But, even once you solely see a touch of a sleeve of Seo-rae’s sweater, it attracts your consideration. 


“In the case of Seo-rae, Director PARK wished to painting her as a chameleon, and to keep a deep uncertainty over what she is considering and what she plans to do,” costume designer Kwak Jung-ae says in Decision to Leave’s manufacturing notes.

Take, as an illustration, the interrogation scene early in the movie. The room won’t have a lot mild, however Seo-rae’s sweater contrasts the remainder of the deco and Hae-joon’s no-nonsense go well with. (The fragrance she sprays onto the waterproof bandaid Hae-joon offered for her hand additionally helped.) She’s a vivid spot in the room, even when she is Hae-joon’s primary suspect, and it’s simple to see why he turns into so obsessed along with her. He watches her, she watches him, and at various factors, they’re each conscious and unaware that they’re being noticed.

seo-rae (left) and hae-joon (right) in decision to leave

Decision to Leave/MUBI

He stakes out her house, and she or he nearly appears to get pleasure from being watched. But inside the sanctity of her house, her wardrobe doesn’t want to pop; her sweaters hew nearer to the condominium’s wall decor, and a turquoise pullover even carefully matches her chair.

As they develop into entangled in one another’s lives, we see them develop into extra snug with each other. Hae-joon’s garments are extra informal when he and Seo-rae are at his house, and she or he will get him to burn pictures from his investigation into her husband’s loss of life. But even then, the colours distinction: While Hae-joon’s house is embellished and lit in cooler tones, the a lot hotter tones of Seo-rae’s outfit—a pink sweater and a crimson skirt—pops.

hae-joon (left) and seo-rae (right) in decision to leave

Decision to Leave/MUBI

Only when she turns off the mild to information Hae-joon right into a peaceable sleep, do the shade palettes match each other.

seo-rae (left) and hae-joon (right) in decision to leave

Decision to Leave/MUBI

When Hae-joon and Seo-rae ultimately fall out over his discovery that she compromised his investigation and he covers it up, main him to switch to Ipo, his wardrobe is rather more muted. His cable sweater even considerably matches Jeong-ahn’s after they run into Seo-rae and her inventory analyst husband, Ho-shin (Park Yong-woo). But this time, the sweaters are gone. Seo-rae later relays that Ho-shin “mentioned to elevate cash, you have got to spend it visibly,” which explains why they stay in such a lavish house, and her wardrobe is a lot nicer.

Even the sweaters you briefly look at in flashbacks—the grey sweater a youthful Seo-rae wears as she holds onto her sick mom in a hospital mattress, the orange pullover she wears when forging blackmail letters in opposition to her husband (the gist of what she put in the letters was true), and even the purple cabled v-neck as she pulls a solid notice from her sweater—handle to stand out in opposition to their respective backdrops.

hae-joon (left) and jeong-ahn (right) in decision to leave

Decision to Leave/MUBI

Since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May (the place Park gained finest director), Decision to Leave has gotten loads of reward and accolades; after a theatrical run in the U.S., it’s now streaming on MUBI. It’s South Korea’s official submission for finest worldwide function movie at subsequent 12 months’s Oscars, and it’s already garnering awards buzz.

Decision to Leave won’t scream “Sweater Movie” to many individuals; it took me a few viewings to absolutely recognize them. It may be as a result of it’s a up to date film vs. a interval piece or sci-fi/fantasy film. Moreover, sweaters don’t have the most outstanding plot resonance, like Seo-rae’s blue-green gown that she discards after cleansing up a criminal offense scene. (And she’s additionally carrying it when she tosses an incriminating cellphone into the sea.) 

But the costumes (and people sweaters) feed into making Decision to Leave come alive simply as a lot as Park’s course, the cinematography, and the lead performances that promote the doomed romance so nicely. 


We crawl the internet so that you don’t have to.

Sign up for the Daily Dot publication to get the finest and worst of the web in your inbox day by day.

*First Published: Dec 20, 2022, 11:59 am CST

Michelle Jaworski

Michelle Jaworski is a workers author and TV/movie critic at the Daily Dot. She covers leisure, geek tradition, and popular culture and has lined all the things from the Sundance Film Festival, NYFF, and Tribeca to New York Comic Con and Con of Thrones. She is based mostly in Brooklyn.

Recommended For You

Leave a Reply