March 25, 2013


Chan-Wook Park, 2003

          Dae-su Oh is suddenly abducted and put in solitary confinement in what looks like a run-down motel room for 15 years. He is released without knowing why he was imprisoned. What follows is a pursuit of answers, and revenge. Chan-Wook Park delivers a masterpiece that is so well made, that it really sets the bar high for the Revenge-film genre. Every single element in Oldboy from the Cinematography (Chung-hoon Chung), Editing (Kim Sang-beom) to the Music (Jo Yeong-wok) is so impeccable and they all maintain a noticeable presence as you watch. There are fight sequences that will remind you of The Raid: Redemption coupled with imaginative visual elements reminiscent of Watchmen. The Korean landscape in Oldboy is bleak and paints a picture of a very scary world. A world in which if you live recklessly enough and without conscience, there are dark forces out there that can literally sweep you up in the blink of an eye. In Oldboy that sweep happened to come with a beautiful elevated shot as the camera ascended above a telephone booth on the rainy night streets. The artfully crafted blood & violence in the film is not overdone, very much unlike the over-gratuitous gore in Kill Bill. There were a lot of twists in the story-line that I didn't see coming, and the climax of this film is among the best I've ever seen. This film packs a punch, and does not dumb itself down. It will stick with you. I ended up watching it twice in one day and it was even better the second time around. I was very disappointed to hear that Spike Lee is filming a remake of this. Makes me wonder why we can't just let good foreign movies sit in the form in which they were originally created (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Let the Right One In). 

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