The Handmaiden Character Analysis

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Leave it to writer/director Park Chan-wook to not leave any stone unturned in his erotically-charged and stylish drama The Handmaiden. We have mystery, betrayal, an explicit love affair, and a healthy dose of cringe-worthy violence and unreliable narrators all conveniently tucked inside a beautifully composed costume drama set in 1930s Korea, where a manipulative con man sets in motion his most complicated ruse to date.

Told as a triptych, where three segments are referenced as "books", The Handmaiden gives us Japanese con man Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo). He hires Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri), a pickpocket who has learned her tricks from "The Count" from a young age. She is tasked with working as a maid to infiltrate the world of the wealthy Hideko (Kim Min-hee), who lives under the watch of her uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong). The Count hopes Sook-Hee can gain him access to Hideko, where the Count can sweep her off her feet, marry her, prove she is crazy, and then essentially inherit all of her wealth for himself.

And while that seems simple enough, we learn that the Count is not Japanese at all, he 's a Korean thief, and has nothing regal about him. Park-wook 's film and screenplay, co-written with first-time scripter Chung Seo-kyong, plays with structure and convention, loose and fast at times, showing us that people and situations are not
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Park-wook and his production designer Ryu Seong-hie embed secret rooms and passageways throughout the residence, leaving us guessing and wondering what secrets the house holds inside its own narrative. While the walls don 't physically move, you can almost see the structure shift in and around the characters, all because of the shots laid out by Chung-hoon and Park-wook, create a fiendish playground where an almost grasp-and-release style of tension envelopes these characters and their escalating

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