Oldboy (2003)
0 comment Tuesday, May 6, 2014 |
Runtime: 120 minutes
Country: South Korea
Cast and Crew
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Chun-hyeong, and Park Chan-wook, Based on the comic by Nobuaki Minegishi
Starring Choi Min-sik, Yu Ji-Tae, Kang Hye-jeong, and Ji Dae-han
Written by Nick Hishmeh
"Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone." Though this line was originated by suicidal poet Virgina Wolfe, it sounds so much better when the main character Oh Dae-su says it. Much of the film Oldboy is dependent on the main character, played by South Korean actor Choi Min-sik and his performance. The film, which is part of a trilogy and this being the best of them, is a meditation of revenge and other darker aspects of human nature that are not normally touched upon in film. Sure, revenge is seen enough, but it is always justified revenge with everything turning out just fine in the end. Don�t expect that Hollywood ending crap here. This is not meant to be seen by the weak of heart.
The premise of the film is that average man Oh Dae-su is taken one night and locked away in a prison, a rather small hotel room with only the bare essentials of a fridge, a bed and a TV. As time goes on and he experiences lapses of sanity and grows ever despondent, he eventually comes to a conclusion: he will escape and kill whoever was responsible. More than kill, like a beast he will eat the man, devouring him. From this moment, the character of Oh Dae-su is not the same one as before his kidnapping. Much like Darth Vader is a completely different character than Anakin Skywalker, so is the released Oh Dae-su from the one we saw at the beginning of the film.
What we see in the rest of the film is the adventure of this beast. The sheer level of brutality and depravity that appears on screen is handled so well that it puts other films to shame. Torture porn films like Hostel have far more gruesome onscreen events, but they have little weight to the viewer. Director Park Chan-wook manages to create a sense of poetry to the film, littering it with beautiful shots and quotes that sound and appear as if they should be in a play. This only helps to make the cruelty so much more effective.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the film is the fact that almost every action Oh-Dae Su takes furthers his suffering and pain all to attain his revenge. If Oh Dae-su simply chose not to seek revenge, life would be a lot better for him. At the very end of the film a question is posed to the audience. It�s in regards to the fate of Oh Dae-su. I suppose that whatever answer you give yourself, it really reveals how you view the world after watching this twisted morality tale.

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