Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oldboy (2004)

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook directed this violent and offbeat story of punishment and vengeance. Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is a husband and father whose reputation for womanizing is well known. One day, for reasons he doesn't understand, Oh Dae-su finds himself locked up in a prison cell, with no idea of what his crime was or whom his jailers may be. With a small television as his only link to the outside world and a daily ration of fried dumplings as his only sustenance, Oh Dae-su struggles to keep his mind and body intact, but when he learns through a news report that his wife has been killed, he begins a long and difficult project of digging an escape tunnel with a pair of chopsticks. Before he can finish -- and after 15 years behind bars -- Oh Dae-su is released, with as little explanation as when he was locked up, and he's soon given a wad of money and a cellular phone by a bum on the street. Emotionally stunted but physically strong after 15 years in jail, Oh Dae-su struggles to unravel the secret of who is responsible for locking him up, what happened to his wife and daughter, and how to best get revenge against his captors. Oldeuboi was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and won the coveted Grand Prix. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

An amazingly intense movie that kept me on the edge of my seat.
But when your tormentor of your pain gives a choice of revenge or knowledge, I say, take revenge and hope knowledge is gained later the past is the past and some things are just not worth knowing. I consider the present is most important and then the future is second and lastly the past.
Similar to the situation in the original The Vanishing (1988-Franco-Dutch) where the truth cost the hero his life. I guess that is why I liked the cheesy USA one better (The Vanishing (1993)). But Roger Ebert did not like it:
"The Vanishing" is a textbook exercise in the trashing of a nearly perfect film, conducted oddly enough under the auspices of the man who directed it... The ending of the original "Vanishing" is of a piece with the rest of the film. It is organically necessary to it. No other ending will do. That is why this Hollywood remake is so obscene."

In anycase this movie was about sins of the past and forcing (creating the situation that normal would not act a certain way) is not the same as an actual premeditated sin.

I do wonder why the hero does not try to find ways out of his metaphysical cage when he recognizes it as such.

Rating: 4 (/5)

This movie supposedly inspired VT Killings: Worst of a Culture Addicted to Fame. Which was one reason to for me to watch it. Although it was very disturbing, I see nothing that would cause someone to do harm to another. It is more like remembering scenes in a movie and relating them to real life.

A nice article about Cho is located at: Was Cho taught to hate?

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