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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Old Boy

Old Boy (Oldeuboi)

Release Date: 2003
Director: Park Chan Wook
Writer: Hwang Jo Yun, Lim Chun Hyeong, Park Chan Wook

Cast:
Choi Min Sik ... Oh Dae Su
Yu Ji Tae ... Lee Woo Jin
Kang Hye Jeong ... Mi Do




Reviewed By : Sassy Girl

With "Oldboy," the middle segment of Park Chan-wook's elegiac "Vengeance Trilogy," much has been made about the film's graphic violence. This is been especially prevalent among Western movie critics, who seemto have no such complaints about far more brutal (and brainless films.) But I digress. "Oldboy's" power comes not from its physical violence. (By the way, most of its bloodiest scenes occur off-screen, and it's a credit to Park's deft filmmaking that he makes viewers believe they've witnessed something not shown on camera.) Adapted from a Japanese manga, "Oldboy" delves into the bitter core of emotional violence. No amount of blood compares to the film's devastating denouement, or Woo-jin's (Yu Ji-tae) cynical and clinical dissection of the merits of revenge coming to sad fruition near the film's conclusion. It accomplishes the task inherent in all great films – more than just entertainment, it cajoles the audience to ask “What would I do in a similar situation?” And, Park (along with co-writers Hwang Jo-yoon and Im Joon-hyung) reinvigorates the “revenge drama,” a common cinematic theme, by imbuing his trilogy with consequence. Revenge is not gleeful; it’s a spiritually painful for those seeking it as well as its intended target.

The casting is spot-on. The great Choi Min-sik has never been better, and kudos to Yu Ji-tae for taking what could have been a snarling one-note villian, and evoking pathos, even an odd poignancy. Equal praise to Gang Hye-jung and the always reliable Oh Dal-su.
Also, mention must be made of Jo Young-wook's evocative score, especially the baroque "Cries and Whispers," which is featured in so many incarnations (even a a ringtone), it almost becomes another character in the film. More than a classic of contemporary Korean cinema, it's one of the great films, in any nation, of the past quarter-century. Not a day goes by when I don't find myself considering its many provocative themes, and it has forever altered my standards for the tenets of a masterpiece. It's virtuoso filmmaking, yet Park never sacrifices substance for style and spectacle. "Oldboy" is a film to be studied, admired, and revered for decades to come.

3 Comments:

  • At October 29, 2006 , Anonymous Boondockerz said...

    Every fan of Korean cinema (or any cinema in general) should watch this movie. It won one of the top awards at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a cult classic and got rated one of the 100 best movies of all time.

     
  • At June 26, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This was a really good movie. It was entertaining, thought provoking, unusual, thrilling and sad at the same time.

     
  • At November 30, 2010 , Anonymous Free Movies said...

    IT is one of my favorite film. Revealing mistakes: When Dae-su enters the room of one of his nemises, his computer screen shows information about the stock exchange.

     

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