Decision To Leave – An Impressive Waste Of Time?

Is this highly-rated film really worth the hype?


Decision To Leave, which was released in US theaters on October 14, 2022, quickly came onto my radar as I saw just how positive its reception was — the average viewer rating was 73% on IMDb, 87% on Fandango and a whopping 94% on Rotten Tomatoes as of November 16th, 2022 — and I decided to do whatever I needed to in order to watch this movie for myself. After attending a showing of this movie for myself, which required a 1-hour commute to the closest theater still playing Decision To Leave and spending $17 on an adult ticket, my conclusion is simple: this movie wasn’t worth all of that effort. Decision To Leave is a movie that is objectively good, but entirely unsatisfying, both in terms of its ending and in the amount of time the viewer must set aside in order to watch this film.

There were a few things I noticed shortly after the movie began that were neither good nor bad, in my opinion. One observation that I feel both sums up and explains most of the things I noticed, was that this movie is not rated. Though not explicitly sexual or gory, Decision To Leave does feature rather heavy subject matters such as murder, cheating, violence, suicide, discussions about depression and other scenes and topics that some people may not feel comfortable with. I wouldn’t personally recommend that anyone younger than a high schooler watches this movie due to the content shown on screen. To add to this, the plot summary most theaters showed online for Decision To Leave gave no indication as to what viewers were actually getting themselves into by watching this movie. The summary in question is one sentence long. It reads as follows: “A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains ends up meeting and developing feelings for the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.” This movie is described as a “romantic mystery,” which I feel is somewhat misleading. If you go into this movie expecting a murder mystery where the main characters fall in love along the way as I did, you will either be sorely disappointed or unexpectedly pleased — if you’ve read the plot summary, this movie ceases to be a murder mystery in less than 30 minutes. Sure, the overarching plot has to do with mysterious deaths and a woman who is the prime suspect, but the audience picks up on who the killer is fairly quickly, and much of the plot is dedicated to the “romance.” Overall, I feel that Decision To Leave should have, at the very least, had a more descriptive plot summary, and should have, at most, had a stricter rating than “not rated.” 

My issues with the actual movie, as opposed to the marketing, start with the ending. I felt that the ending shown managed to be completely underwhelming, while also managing to cancel out any progress the characters might have made throughout the course of the movie— something that is honestly pretty impressive. The ending doesn’t exactly give a concrete answer for what ends up happening to the lead character. This can definitely work with some movies and characters, (and I do feel that the ending given to him was entirely in line with his characterization throughout the movie) but just being in character isn’t enough to make an ending “good,” in my opinion. The viewer may have a vague idea of what will end up happening, but even then there are too many ongoing circumstances to know for sure. This is particularly unsatisfying as the second “main character” does actually get a concrete ending— one that the viewer is entirely aware of— and the movie ends without the lead character ever finding out what happened. Another issue I personally had with this movie was the “romance” shown on screen. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t even consider that relationship a romance at all. One character falls for another for entirely superficial reasons, and the other doesn’t even reciprocate this “love” until after a point which the first claims is when he lost feelings. They never explicitly say “I love you” according to the English subtitles, and any gestures that could be interpreted as romantic or an act of love are morally grey at best — at worst, they’re illegal. It’s a doomed relationship from the start (as are most of the relationships showcased in this film) and it’s right on the line of legality and good vs. bad morals. I personally feel that there are very few ways to frame this relationship in a light that makes it more “acceptable” than what it is: a detective and the prime suspect of an ongoing case he is investigating. In general, any issues I had with this film were topics that, personally, make or break a film for me, and in this case, they broke it. 

Despite what my final opinion on Decision To Leave is, it is an objectively good movie. The plot is well-thought-out and fairly intricate, and I can’t even think of any possible plot holes. Outside of the movie’s plot, the music and general sound design seemed to be well produced (then again, I’m not much of an expert on sound design). The acting, additionally, was fairly flawless in my opinion, and the actors and actresses played their characters well. 

Decision To Leave is definitely not one of my favorite movies. I don’t necessarily regret seeing it, though. It’s definitely not a movie I would have chosen to see if the description had been more informative of the actual content in this movie. However, It’s definitely given me a better idea of what great acting and plot design look like, and it was my first time seeing a foreign live-action film. 

As of November 28th, Decision To Leave is still available to watch in select theaters, and it will be available to stream on MUBI on a yet-to-be-announced date.