Film: Oldboy (Korean, 2003)

3/1/11

Part 2 of The Vengeance Trilogy.

Like the 1st installment of The Vengeance Trilogy, "Oldboy" by Chan-wook Park, is twisted, darkly disturbing, and beyond everything else, supremely entertaining. Squeamish folks should think twice, though about casually sticking this in the DVD player...or should just be prepared for the violent directorial ways of Chan-wook Park. It's actually not so much the literal violence in his films but Chan-wook Park's "violent" pure and raw storytelling paired with emotion and circumstance that you'll be reacting too.

More than the stunning action, Oldboy is beautifully acted and you can virtually feel Oh Dae-su's (Choi Min Sik) rage and frustration inside his strange prison. The soundtrack and special effects are just as impeccably done. This film is so extraordinary that even Steven Spielberg wants/wanted to take a stab at remaking this. If you haven't seen Oldboy yet, better fix that missing corner of your uncommon cinefile library. It's definitely worth watching (and reading a couple hours of subtitles).

Synopsis

During his daughter's birthday, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min Sik), an average Seoul entrepreneur, gets totally drunk and is arrested. His best friend, Joo-hwan, comes to rescue and release him from the police station. While calling home from a phone booth, Oh Dae-su mysteriously vanishes.

Apparently, he has been abducted and found to be held secretly captive in a strange, private prison cell without and for any basis.

Fifteen years later, he is unexpectedly discharged, with a new suit. Meanwhile, a stranger gives him a mobile phone and a wallet full of money at a restaurant, where he also meets and falls in love with Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong). He is given five days to discover his mysterious captor's motives, and if he succeeds, his captor will commit suicide, otherwise, Mi-do will die.

While looking for clues and attempting revenge, Oh Dae-su uncovers deep, dark secrets from the past.