"It was a pleasure to be treated to more of Park Chan-wook's visual artistry."
Old Boy (2003)
Director: Park Chan-Wuk
Producer: Ji Yeong-Jun, Kim Dong-Ju
Writers: Hwang Jo-Yun, Im Jun-Hyeong
Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Yu Ji-Tae, Kang Hye-Jeong, Ji Dae-Han, Oh Dal-Su, Kim Byeong-Ok, Kim Su-Hyeon(b), Park Myeong-Sin, Lee Dae-Yeon, Yun Jin-Seo
Running Time: 120 min.
Plot: Oh Dae-soo (Choi Min-sik) is a business man who is suddenly kidnapped and confined in a cell with only a television set. He makes various efforts to escape and even attempts to commit suicide, but all end up in failure. Dae-soo one day watches a news about his wife being murdered and he being wanted by the police. Feeling shocked and deeply grieved, Dae-soo begins to dig a hole in the room with a spoon to get his way out to revenge the lost of his wife on the real culprit.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
OWLMAN'S REVIEW: Oldboy is one of those films that prove difficult to review. Not because it wasn't entertaining (it very much was). Nor was the storyline and character development lacking (storyline was very engaging, character development was strong).
No, it's difficult to review solely because of the fact that any little bit that's revealed about the movie kind of spoils the fun of it.
The only thing that you need to know about the film's plot is that Oh Dae-Su gets locked up somewhere for 15 years. Upon completion of said incarceration, he is released and left to his own devices to determine who did it and why.
The movie has cemented my adoration of Park Chan-Wook and his output to date. From Joint Security Area, to Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, through to Oldboy, he never ceases to amaze me with his films - simply because after viewing each film, I can't stop thinking about them.
Case in point - I watched Oldboy about a month ago and still find myself thinking about all the intricate twists and turns that befall the protagonist of Oh Dae-Su. I lent the movie to a co-worker of mine who watched it with his girlfriend one weekend - he, too, couldn't stop thinking about the movie afterwards. My father also watched it with my mother - again, the same result.
I'm beginning to sound like a raving idiot but I'm being completely serious here. I really felt that viewing Oldboy was quite an experience, resulting in this movie landing firmly in any list of my all-time favourite films. However, you should be fairly warned - the movie was very disturbing. If news about an American remake of the film really do bear fruit, I can only imagine how watered-down it will turn out to be.
I conclude this half-assed review of Oldboy by telling you that my mother now thinks that I'm a fucking nutter for lending my dad the movie. With praise like that, you can't go wrong with this film.
OWLMAN'S RATING: 10/10 (plus a big thumbs down from my mom)
MAIROSU'S REVIEW: Yes, I got
off my movie binge and did, well, other things men do in life. But, I recently
did see one movie after reading literally throngs of recommendation and
great critique, and I have to say while it didn't really strike me as the
next best thing since sliced bread, I did like it immensely and would recommend
it further down the road. The film I'm talking about is Chan Wook-Park's
"Oldboy", the second entry in this talented director's "revenge"
trilogy and the hottest thing in the asian movie market nowadays.
EQUINOX21'S REVIEW: I'll start off by stating up front that I simply didn't enjoy Old Boy as much as I enjoyed the other two Park Chan-wook movies I've seen. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and J.S.A. are two of my personal favorites, so I know that I had extremely high expectations when I popped the Old Boy DVD into my player (though, I was trying to keep my expectations in check). I was treated to a movie with wonderful acting and direction that was visually spectacular, but with a story that I simply didn't enjoy as much as the other two films by the same director.
When Oh Deasu (Choi Min-sik) wakes up only to find himself locked in a room, he pleads with his captors to let him go. This goes on for 15 years, until he finally wakes up in the same place he was abducted from a decade and a half earlier. What follows is a phone call as his first clue as to the identity of his abductor and the reason for his incarceration. In his search for revenge, he falls in love with a younger woman which becomes a key element in his twisted story. Even though it wraps up nicely, some of the film's plot points were a bit too far fetched for me to thoroughly enjoy.
By the end of the movie, if you're even the least bit observant, you will have already guessed who each of the characters is and the reasons for the imprisonment. The problem is that none of the reasons for each of the character's actions in Old Boy are nearly as "noble" as they are in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. In SFMV, there were no bad people, just people thrown into situations that they reacted to differently. Old Boy was all about people holding grudges for years, and finally acting upon them in a way that couldn't possibly help anyone solve anything.
But all this is not to say that the movie isn't enjoyable. It was a pleasure to be treated to more of Park Chan-wook's visual artistry. Plus, Choi Min-sik is always a joy to watch. Especially in Old Boy, where he gets to act really crazy and occasionally over the top (in a way that makes sense to the story; donât worry, he's not over doing it for the part) at times.
Other than the negative parts of the plot that I already described, everything about this film was terrific. I really enjoyed watching it, even if I was a little bit let down at the end.
EQUINOX21'S RATING: 8/10