A remake of a South Korean film by Hollywood is hardly an oddity when it comes to it being done in its native land.
Fully colored, The Housemaid (in Korean with English subtitles) has some odd, kinky pleasures to it, an interesting, if, alas, tersely terse tangled piece, less subtle than the erotic black-and-white 1960 original. Im Sang-Soo is the new auteur of an intriguing, licentious tale which has thematic resonance when it comes to social standing.
Looking with sinuous sensibility into modern-day South Korea, Im now centers on the opulence of one Hoon (Lee Jong-Jae) and his family with the newly-hired young, eponymous character Eun-Yi, well played by successful Korean thespian Jeon Do-yeon.
In his mansion-like residence the hoity-toity businessman enjoys playing classical music on his piano after sipping his red wine. Hoon's wife, Haera (Woo Seo) is pregnant with twins, and the parents aren't paying much attention to their small daughter (Ahn Seo-Hyun).
Soon the live-in maid goes along with the philandering executive into his bedroom as an affair ensues. With the arrival of Hoon's mother Mi-Hee (Park Ji-young), the hot relationship isn't on the sly for long thanks to former older live-in housemaid Byung-Sik (Youn Yun-Jung). She'd been with Hoon's family for quite some time burying some secrets in the process.
The film builds its share of moral conflict from the fact that someone of lesser means like Eun-Yi is now with child herself and the ramification of life-changing decision-making. Across the board is plenty of accomplished, deft acting, especially with nice, ambiguity essayed by Do-yeon, even Yun-Jung, as Byung plots to give her daughter control over her husband.
This very adult picture might offer something too open-ended, but such a polished production with striking lensing, may be elegant and intriguing enough to captivate a discerning art house audience before frustration sets in.