Movies: Oldboy

May 8, 2005 at 6:29 PM (General)

I’ve been waiting to see the Korean movie Oldboy for a very long time and I finally got to do so.  I must say, it’s a very impressive movie and certainly not at all conventional.

The movie is about a man called Oh Daesu (Choi Min Sik) who is suddenly abducted without explanation, and imprisoned in a hotel room for fifteen years.  Each day, his room is cleaned, he is given food, and each night, Valium gas is used to make him sleep.  By the first year, he finds out that his wife has been murdered, and that he is the prime suspect.  He has no idea what happened to his daughter.  One day he finds out that the plate of food that comes into his room has three chopsticks instead of two — and he uses this extra chopstick to carve a hole in the wall.

One day, he is let loose by his mysterious abductor, and supplied with clothes, money, and a cellphone.  Oh Daesu meets a woman named Mido (Kang Hye-Jeong) in a restaurant, and with the help of an old friend, he tries to find his abductor.  Soon, it is revealed that Oh Daesu has only five days to find his abductor, and that all the torture he endured for fifteen years is only the beginning of what is planned for him.  At any rate, Oh Daesu intends to exact revenge upon his abductor — to paraphrase what he says in the movie, he intends to kill the person responsible, but no one will ever be able to find the body because he is going to chew it all down.

The movie is certainly very different — I expected it to be a sort of mystery-driven revenge story, but it’s more a drama than anything else.  All characters in the movie are very well developed and the film contains some amazing acting.  The last third of the movie (where the story is resolved) is quite tragic.

It should also be mentioned that the movie contains some violent scenes that could be considered disturbing, and some mature themes.  I also loved the music score in the movie, it suited it very well.  The movie is directed by Chanwook Park (who, according to what I read, is the director of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, another revenge-drama), and adapted from a Japanese manga.

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