Oldboy (2003), Park Chan-Wook


Oldboy is the second of a three part set called “The Vengeance” directed by Park Chan-Wook.  Considered a Mystery-Thriller, you definitely had both.

The story follows Oh Dae-su, who ends ups being imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years on the night of his daughters birthday. He’s stolen from a phone booth, making the birthday call on a rainy night. At no point during those 15 years, he knew what was going on. It was day after day of him creating a relationship with his television, of him trying to kill himself, of him trying to escape.

One sunny day, he’s released. He still doesn’t know what’s going on, and he’s on a rooftop. It’s confusion and a suitcase. He eventually finds himself on the ground and finds sushi. While sitting down for his first liberated meal, he receives a message from his captor. He immediately passes out. This is the scene where you are introduced to “Mi-do” the sushi chef of this specific establishment.

Mi-do takes Oh Dae-su to her home, and cares for him until he wakes up. She becomes his partner in crime (after a few glitches and problems) and helps him find his missing daughter (or at least, what became of her). They found out she was adopted to a Swedish couple. Scenes that follow this is him remembering a specific pot-sticker he ate while held captive. Him and Mi-do tries ever pot-sticker in town until they find what they are looking for.

It leads them the hotel. He tortures the warden, learning that Oh Dae-su was held captive for talking too much. All this eventually leads him to discovering his captor, a very rich man by the name of Woo-jin Lee. He gives Oh Dae-su an ultimatum that becomes the rest of the film. Ending rather dramatically.

I really enjoyed this film. You noticed a specific shooting style, and the plot line was solid. You had a slow build up and eventually all of your questions were answered. I liked the original story too, it wasn’t too cookie-cutter. You had something original and fresh to watch. I was worried about how … I guess scary it was going to be. It wasn’t, if anyone is wondering.

I don’t really end up watching too many movies set on revenge (Wuthering Heights, 1991- was the last one I can remember), but it’s something I need to start thinking about. Francis Bacon once called it “wild justice”. Which is a fair definition in my heart, or at least “personal justice”.

I think my favorite part was the ending. The scene with the snow was perfect (The picture in this specific blog post is from said scene). I’m partial with anything snow, and I think it touched a spot for me.

I recommend this movie to anyone. As a friend said, this movie isn’t meant for a spa day. So don’t go expecting something touchy-feely. It’s pretty real, in an unfortunate way.





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