Review: Oldboy

A substantive revenge revealing flick!

Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, a korean flick, which shows the concoction of sexuality, violence, and cinematic ingenuity in a well outspoken manner. It’s not a political or sexual flick, but it is all about the distortions of one’s personality as a result of revenge, which was meant for a corny incident happened during hero’s(Dae-su) teenage .Choi Min-sik did that role in a well explicit and extra ordinary manner. Hat’s off to you mahn! \m/ 🙂

 Movie begins with the drunkard Dae-su’s intemperate behavior and scrimmage against the police authorities, who arrested him under an indrawn custody. Later he released from there with the help of his friend,  Joo-hwan! He gets Dae-su to call home from a phone booth, but while the solicitous friend takes a turn talking to the birthday girl, Dae-su mysteriously DISAPPEARS.  Later we are supposed to see, Dae-su in a prison cell, where, with the help of a voice-over delivered by Dae-su from some time in the future, we find out the businessman has been imprisoned for 15 YEARS. The specialty about the prison is that, it’s a private cell by ill natured people for their customers to have their enemies kidnapped and locked up.  Dae-su’s life in such a complicated days made him to wait for the day of negotiation from there.  Life inside it was a comfortable cell, which resembles a very comfortable studio apartment sans kitchen, TV and all. He writes out a lengthy list of people he’s offended or injured enough to have plotted this revenge.

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Let’s just say that Dae-su is, after 15 years, released from his prison and wanders into a sushi bar where he meets Mido (Kang Hye-jeong), an 18-year-old sushi chef with whom he soon takes up.  During this middle section, Dae-su is contacted over a cell phone he’s slipped – and, eventually, through email – by the mysterious man who paid for his imprisonment.  Dae-su also tracks down the prison’s location and wreaks a little revenge of his own on his hired jailers.

From here onwards, we can see the extremely violent, though the physical violence seems perfectly appropriate when you match it up to the psychic violence.  Also, Park throughout the film, has employed distancing devices.  He’ll use a medium shot instead of a close-up whenever he can, a long-shot instead of a medium shot.  The movie’s big fight scene – during which Dae-su pummels a platoon of pole-wielding thugs with a hammer (and wins) – is filmed in a beautiful and splendid way for the viewers.  Just before the fight begins, when Dae-su holds his hammer over the head of his first victim, a dotted line suddenly appears on screen tracing the path the hammer will take to the man’s pate. It’s really horrible as well as substantive one though. 😀

Park’s visual language can be lovely, as well.  In his cell, Dae-su had been susceptible to hallucinations in which ants had crawled all over his face and arms and under his skin.  Mido, who reads about it in his journals, tells him she feels bad for him; she’s read that people who dream about ants are lonely.  To show the idea of loneliness and ants as Mido imagines it, Park uses a computer trick to have an oncoming subway car cross the frame from upper right to lower left; whether intentional or not. When he cuts to the inside of a train car, all alone, and a placid-looking giant ant all alone in another.  It’s an antique moment, strangely serene, odd, and wholly different from Dae-su’s experience.

The middle portion of Oldboy belongs to Dae-su and Mido, their burgeoning relationship and how it tries to take hold under what turns out to be the surveillance of Dae-su’s foe.  The final third belongs to Dae-su and that foe who, by then, has openly revealed himself and prodded Dae-su to discover the source of his enmity.

Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy delivers a package of filmed vengeance that is steeped in rage and violence.  But it’s also a rigorously introspective movie of the times. For me, Oldboy is one among the movie that can be added to my top 5 flicks list. A MUST watch one! 🙂


I’m so glad to share the youtube link of full movie with English subtitles here. Hope you guys will enjoy watching this irrevocable thriller. 🙂