August 2, 2009

Thirst: The Blood of Jesus Isn't Supposed to Get You Drunk

Thirst is a long movie. Yet what's wrong with long as long as long's not painful? And director Park Chan-wook is never painful. At least, not painfully boring. Park at his worst is a shocking curio, and an intelligent one at that. What is painful about Park (for the queasy) is his synthesis of gore and lore. But if the sight of a blister-covered, self-martyring priest-vampire (Song Kang-ho) vomiting blood through his recorder strikes you as horrifying and oddly hilarious, Thirst is your kind of picture. Actually, Thirst may be Park's funniest movie so far. One extended sequence focuses on how a deliriously cheerful drowning victim (Shin Ha-kyun) haunts the priest-vampire and his psychopathic soul mate (Kim Ok-bin); another has a paralyzed stroke-victim mother (Kim Hae-sook) revealing -- with eye blinks and finger taps -- that this same bloodthirsty duo has killed her son. Has anyone else shown a compassionate vampire feast on his drink of choice by using the feeding tube of a fat comatose patient as if it were a straw? Not that all the shocks are Grand Guignol grotesqueness. Thirst also contains some seriously hot sex scenes that equate Dracula's charms with masochism. Like the song says, you know it hurts so good.

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