Oldboy (2003)


Oldboy – Chan-wook Park

Oldeuboi (original title)

Summary:  Average businessman Oh Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is kidnapped on the same night as his young daughter’s birthday and is imprisoned in a small hotel-like room for 15 years.  With no human interaction or explanation as to why he has been imprisoned he bides his time shadow boxing, swearing revenge and secretly attempting to make a tunnel out of his cell with one chopstick.  The room leaks gas to dose him into unconsciousness whenever he is suicidal, or when the room needs to be maintained, there is no escape and Oh Dae-su is unable to figure out who or why anyone would want to do this to him.  His only contact with the outside world is through the news on the television in his room where he soon learns from a news report his wife has been murdered, his daughter has been sent to foster parents and he is the prime suspect.  Slipping in and out of insanity he is finally released just as abruptly as he was kidnapped; he finds himself on a rooftop in an expensive suit with a cellphone.  But this is not yet freedom for Oh Dae-su; his captor, whom so well knows he wants revenge, sends him on a breadcrumb trail where he will have to endure more pain and suffering before he can find out the motive in the five day limit imposed on him.

My Review:  Wow.  I was left well and truly, utterly, speechless after watching this movie.  Countlessly recommended by male friends it certainly isn’t for the screamish and may well be one of the best, twisting revenge movies out there.  It’s not all that smooth-viewing though, like most Korean films I have watched so far, it’s level of violence is extreme and intense and certainly amped up a notch in this one.  The story is supreme, which is why it got noticed and not just because of the gore for gore’s sake.  If you’re looking for something on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve found it.

Rating:  4/5

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