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Overly technical 'Maid' lifeless



The Housemaid
Directed by Im Sang-soo
Starring Jeon Do-Young, Lee Jung-Jae, Seo Woo and Young Yuh-Jing
Rated R
2 stars

Director Im Sang-soo remakes the classic 1960 Korean film “The Housemaid” into a heady, atmospheric experience that showed at both the 2010 Cannes and Toronto film festivals.

The story of housemaid Eun-Yi’s (Jeon Do-Young) erotically charged affair with the married Hoon (Lee Jung-Jae), head of the obscenely rich family that employs her, cries out for an approach that melds elements of camp and high art, similar to that of Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.”

Im, a technical virtuoso, has the art part down. Yet, he’s so immersed in the technical details ­— producing perfectly calibrated camera angles, meticulously playing with light and lovingly regarding his actors’ physicality — that the movie grows cold and lifeless.

Despite a great performance by Jeon, one of the best actresses around, the film never pulls the audience in or gets under its skin the way you’d hope a dark, out-there thriller would.

Playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and IFC Center

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