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Directed by Chan-wook Park.
Written by Seo-gyeong Jeong and Chan-wook Park.
Starring Kang-ho Song, Ok-vin Kim and Hae-sook Kim.
Release Year:  2009

Review Date:  8/24/09


The guy that wrote & directed "Oldboy"--a GREAT film--has made a movie about a priest (Kang-ho Song) who undergoes a treatment that turns him into a vampire, and that vampire then falls in love with a commoner named Tae-ju (Ok-vin Kim), and in becoming a vampire, the priest goes from upstanding citizen to blood-sucking man-whorish gambler overnight.

And, this film--called "Thirst"--is supposed to be a love story!

Like "Oldboy", "Thirst" falls into half a dozen genres but it generally works thanks to the kind of wacko filmmaking that makes film critics call Quentin Tarantino a genius.  In other words, it's wacky to most normal, kind, 40-hours-a-week-and-church-on-Sundays people; to someone with an artistic bent, I think that "Thirst" will come off as cool because of the twist on the normal vampire/Dracula-style love story that was made years ago.  The twist?  Let's set things in the modern day, but make the blood feedings that keep any vampire worth his salt alive...uhh, scenes where the priest takes an IV blood drip from an overweight comatose patient?  Or, maybe, snacks from the wrist of another priest (In-hwan Park)?  Or, maybe, snacks from his human girlfriend?

As nasty as this film is, it lays down the story (at least, through the first half of the film) as being an innocent, magical vampire-coming-of-age story.  Now, in the second half, things change a bit as the girlfriend casually reminds the priest that she really doesn't like her husband, or that she wouldn't mind becoming a vampire herself.  But, even then, the love story elements stick around as things get violent for everyone involved.  Will the priest give in to the girlfriend?  Will everyone, everywhere die a nasty death at the hands of vampires?  And, what the fuck is the scoring system for mah-jongg, anyway??

Yep, "Thirst" is just a ride, a thriller for those that want to see something really different.  Not for everyone, but if you give it a shot, all I'll promise is that it will NOT be boring!

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 08/24/09