Saturday, May 22, 2010

Capsule Review: Oldboy (2003)

South Korean cinema is currently some of the most original and exciting in the world, with filmmakers like Kim Jee-woon, Bong Joon-ho and Kim Ki-Duk leading a charge of genre-influenced cinema which has still struck a chord with the general public. However, my own awakening came with my first viewing of Chan-Wook Park's incredible Oldboy. The second part of Park's "vengeance trilogy" (bookended by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance), Oldboy details the seemingly random 15 year imprisonment of Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik), followed by his efforts to discover who confined him and why. Filled with memorable and violent imagery - most notably an endless fight (shot in one take) involving Oh Dae-Su defending himself armed only with a hammer - Oldboy may be a bit too extreme for some audiences, but for those who appreciate a bloody (and perverse) story of revenge it remains absolutely illuminating. One of the best films of the decade.

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