TrustMovies admits to never having seen Kim Ki-young's 1960 original, which is said to be by far the superior version of this tale of a pretty young woman who goes to work for a wealthy Korean family as its housemaid and the complications that thereafter ensue. Consequently, he will concentrate only on what he saw before him on-screen in the very sexy, very nasty, very gorgeous remake, called once again THE HOUSEMAID and this time adapted (from Mr. Kim's original screenplay) and directed by Im Sang-soo (shown below). For its stunning and sensual visuals alone, the movie is definitely worth seeing -- and on the big screen.
Lee Hyung Deok, whether in bright daylight or noirish shadow, continuing on to the amazing house that provides the set of much of the movie, and finally to the spot-on editing of Lee Eun Soo that brings all this together -- your eye is constantly delighted by the wonders dancing before it. (That the movie is from South Korea -- home to some of the lengthiest genre films ever made -- and yet is only 106 minutes long, is another plus.)
Jeon Do-yeon, above and on poster, top, is perfection. No raving beauty, this actress is still quite pretty, sexy and able to do and be, it would seem, anything that is asked of her. Compare her performance here to her award-winning one in the recently-released Secret Sunshine, and you'll see what I mean. Then check out Untold Scandal, the sumptuous Korean version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses from 2003 to see even more of the range of this unusual actress.
Lee Jung-Jae (from Il Mare, Typhoon and The Accidental Gangster) is one of the sexiest performers to hit the screen in decades. I can't vouch for his acting ability, having seen him only in this one and in Il Mare (the original upon which a silly, sodden The Lake House was based), but Mr. Lee has the ability to hold you fast simply by placing his more-than-impressive body on the screen in all its lithe yet massive stillness. He and his director use quiet remarkably well. They insist that his co-star (not to mention the viewer) come to him willingly and service him properly. The actor's ability to radiate privilege and entitlement should have you eating out of his hand (if not other protuberances) at the same time as you despise him.
The Housemaid, from IFC Films, opens this Friday, January 21, at the IFC Center and the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. As with most film from IFC that open theatrically, it will also be available via IFC On-Demand, be-ginning Jan. 26. Click here to determine how to get it in your home.