Walking at Night provides a fitting, bittersweet conclusion to a consistently above-average collection.
This review is for the fourth segment of Netflix’s Persona, titled Persona: Walking at Night. It contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free thoughts on the full season by clicking these words. Our reviews of the previous segments can be found here, here and here.
The fourth and final segment of Netflix’s Persona is Kim Jong Kwon’s Walking at Night, a quiet and meditative short film about a deceased woman having a final conversation with her dreaming boyfriend before he wakes and must say goodbye to her. Shot entirely in black and white, it’s an emotive short that provides a bittersweet ending for the above-average Korean anthology.
The true dynamic at play in Walking at Night isn’t immediately apparent, but as things unfold along quiet monochrome streets and in a restaurant, what’s really happening becomes clear. The dreamlike aesthetic helps to set an appropriately contemplative tone that matches the topics of conversation, which include death but also love and life and learning to let go.
That’s the underlying theme of Walking at Night: Learning to say goodbye, to let go, to move on. This is hardly fresh territory, but its approached artfully here, and like the other shorts in this collection works better once you sit down to think about it than it does right there in the moment. But in the moment its perfectly fine too, and IU continues to show a surprising range of actorly ability, which in many ways is what this entire anthology has been designed to showcase.
If nothing else, Walking at Night enables me to say with some confidence that Persona doesn’t contain a single bad short. There is, I think, an obvious highlight in Collector, but this final film was a fine way to close out a collection that has asked many questions in a few different ways and remained engaging all the while.