Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)


Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – Chan-wook Park

Boksuneun naui geot (original title)

Summary:  Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun), a deaf-mute factory worker, lives in an apartment with his sister (Lim Ji-eun) who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant.  Ready to donate one of his own, Rye is told regrettably his blood type does not match and soon finds out he has been laid off from his job.  Undoubtably feeling desperate but with his large sum of money in savings Ryu contacts a black market organ dealer.  In order to obtain a matching kidney for his sister Ryu agrees to donate one of his kidneys and the only money he has left, but after going through with the operation he wakes up with his kidney, money and now also the dealers gone.  Ryu’s doctor then contacts him pleased to tell him a matching donor has been found, however now Ryu has no money left to go ahead with this operation.  Ryu’s pro-communiest girlfriend, Yeong-mi (Yeong-mi), suggests Ryu should kidnap the daughter of the executive who laid him off at the factory so he can demand a ransom in return of his daughter and be able to afford the operation fees.  Clutching at last straws, Ryu goes ahead with this plan and brings the young girl back to the apartment where his sister looks after her. Innocently, the girl believes she’s only on vacation but when Ryu’s sister discovers the extreme lengths Ryu has gone to save her she feels only a burden to his already troubled life.  Ryu’s anger builds and his revenge for the runaway organ dealers, the executive and the situation only deepens, but because of his actions he is not the only one out for vengeance.

My Review:   Another revenge story from South Korea and director Chan-wook Park which hits you all in a devastatingly and hard-to-digest blow.  This was actually the first film in ‘The Vengeance Trilogy’ which Oldboy follows and there’s no other link between the three films other than the cold relentless act of revenge.  Not realising it was part of a trilogy; I actually watched Oldboy first before watching Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, but I can’t say I enjoyed the latter as much.  For gore fans there is of course a few of Park’s signature toe-curling scenes in here you can grit your teeth along to.  Very bleak at times, it’s worth a watch if you’re into this genre and serves as a good starter before the main course that can only be Oldboy.

Rating:  2/5

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2 thoughts on “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

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