Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009


New Moon grossed at least half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office; Thirst earned $318,574 in North America. But the South Korea mad-love story was our vampire movie of the year. Writer-director Park Chan-wook — he of the ultra-violent Vengeance trilogy — took the basic genre canvas and splattered it with ecstasy, pain and all the bodily fluids, especially blood. A Catholic priest (Song Kang-ho), turned into a vampire after undergoing a dangerous medical experiment, is drawn to the lonely wife (Kim Ok-vin) of the priest's feeble school chum. When the priest and his demon lover fall into a torrid affair, Thirst melds with the obsessions of its characters and goes orgasmically nuts with them. In this nutsy-greatsy melodrama, the acting revelation is Kim, who evolves from a creature of mute docility to one of desperate ardor, then explosive eroticism, then murderous intent. She is Lady Chatterley and Lady Macbeth in one smoldering package.