Studio: Genius Products Inc Release Date: 11/06/2007 Run time: 120 minutes Rating: R
In the realm of revenge thrillers, you'd be hard pressed to find more ultra-violent vengeance and psycho thrills than in the creepy story of Oldboy. This Korean import made a pop splash at the Cannes Film Festival and during its limited theatrical run thanks to the imprimatur of Quentin Tarantino, who raved about it and its visionary director, Chan-wook Park, to anyone who would listen. It's easy to see why QT fell in love with the grindhouse attitude, fast-paced action, violent imagery, and icy-black humor, but it's a disservice to think of Oldboy as another Tarantino homage or knockoff. The darkly existential undercurrent in the themes that Oldboy traces over its life-long narrative arc is much more complex and deeply disturbing than anything of its kind. The movie's tagline is, "15 years of imprisonment... 5 days of vengeance." The imprisonee is Oh Dae-Su, an ordinary Joe who is snatched off a Seoul street corner and locked away in a dank, windowless fleabag hotel room for the aforementioned 15 years. Just as abruptly he is released, and thus the five days begin. Why did this happen to Oh Dae-Su? Ah, but that would be telling, and in fact we don't know ourselves until the final wrenching scenes.
Oldboy breaks into a classic three-act saga, the first of which details the hallucinatory period of imprisonment in which Oh Dae-Su wades from mild insanity to outright psychosis in the hands of unseen yet attentive captors. Act 2 is the revenge, when an entirely different tone takes over and Oh Dae-Su moves with single-minded purpose and clarity. It's this section that has gained the most notoriety, primarily for the claw-hammer dentistry scene, the one-man-army tracking shot, and the wriggling octopus that Oh Dae-Su consumes in a sushi bar (he's been dead so long he simply needs life back inside him in any way possible). In act 3, answers finally start to emerge and the sinister atmosphere grows even more profound--not without a healthy dose of extra bloodletting, of course. Oldboy is an undeniably poetic masterpiece of tension, fury, and dynamic craft. Ultimately, its epic cycle of tragedy is of the sort that mankind has been inflicting upon itself for all time. Some of the images may be gruesome, but all converge into a kind of beauty. It's in the telling of this lurid tale that these details become one and the memories of pain ultimately heal. --Ted Fry
Shallow plot Shallow plot offering plenty of occasions for gratuitous graphic violence. Nevertheless, acting and aesthetics are rather good. ...more info
TRULY SHOCKING Incredible. Shocking. Heart-wrenching. Bloody. Violent. Amazing. This movie is a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. This is definitely a "revenge" movie on all fronts.
During the movie the hunter becomes the hunted. There are surprise twists and turns that are truly shocking. This is actually a movie within a movie and it will definitely surprise the hell out of the first time viewer.
This is not a movie for those who have weak stomaches. There is such strong violence and gore -- yet it is essential to the movies plot and various sub-plots. THIS IS NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN.
I gave OLDBOY 5 stars. There is so much going on in the movie and it is all tied together so neatly at the end that it just amazed me. The acting is great, the storyline is great. It is an intense action movie that will absolutely thrill any one who enjoys revenge movies....more info
Fantastic Park Chanwook's Oldboy is a masterful achievement. A great story and an eqaully impressive film. Great acting, especially from Choi Min-sik. And the ending will blow you away.
This one disc edition features a commentary, and interview with the director himself, deleted scenes, a trailer contest winner, and a photo gallery.
One of the best films of the decade.
Also check out the others in the trilogy:
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Oldboy Review What can I say? For the first half of the movie I was lost. It was only at the last 30 minutes the movie caught my interest. It was not the worst film I have seen but it certainy was not for me. ...more info
Wow, mother of all twists... What can I say, as disturbing as it is, an awesome movie none the less. I love live-action Far-Eastern movies. This movie not only fits right in that gap but also lands one of the sickest twists I have ever seen in a movie to top it. Hollywood cannot even come close. You don't believe me, watch it....more info
One of the most gripping movies I have ever seen. Wow, what can I say about Oldboy. It's definetely one of the best films I've ever seen, it takes the formula of a revenge plot driven storyline and turns it around and makes it different than anything you've ever seen before. I've also noticed that some reviewers have compared it to some of Tarantino's work which is about half right, even though some parts were similar to Tarantino's and Takashi Miike's stuff it was still a highly original and entertaining crime thriller with some gruesome scenes of violence. The screenplay was brilliant and the characters were developed very well and it was extremely complex not to mention the plot which was ingenious and has the most amazing plot twist I've seen so far with a great payoff and the acting from all of the cast was superb, I actually thought it was quite disturbing while watching it the first time last year but I must admit that it didn't have the same impact the second time around oh well. The story focuses on Dae-Su (Min-Sik Choi) who is drunk and disorderly in a police station on his young daughter's birthday gets posted bail by his best friend and then gets kidnapped and thrown in what looks like a cheap motel room only to be held captive there for fifteen years with only his rage, anger and confusion to keep him company. He has a small t.v. and he obviously has no idea who kidnapped him, as he passes time lifting weights and trying to break out by digging a hole on the wall. His imprisonment is both horrifying and absurd and anyone in that situation would obviously feel the same as Dae-Su would, things actually go from bad to worse as it is found out that he is the chief suspect in his own wife's murder and just as he's about finished digging a tunnel out through the wall Dae su is released under mysterious circumstances and filled with rage he vows revenge on his captors...he also has a cool and crazy haircut. He then meets a female companion in a sushi bar and they develop a quick relationship but this female companion has a dark secret which is about to be revealed later on and Dae-Su seems to be losing his sanity trying to find the identity of his tormentors.
While the majority of the film follows the lead character's attempt to find his tormentors and exact revenge the true conflict transpires behind the scenes, the plot was very intricate and clever and it seems like Dae-Su was the type of person who was indeed guilty of causing much suffering to himself and to others. If you like Korean or Asian cinema then your going to love this, Choonwok Park has done a great job with this stylishly made and slick looking drama or Crime/Thriller which is such a fantastic film , the best scene had to be the one in the hallway where Dae su proceeds to beat the crap out of a bunch of thugs with only a hammer and his fists, this scene was excellently choreographed and beautifully shot using a tracking shot camera moving across the hall as Dae-su punches and kicks his way out, such a fantastic moment. The film also has plenty more memorable scenes as well like the shocking ending which I'm not going to reveal and Dae su eating that tasty looking live squid YUM ;-). The film was also quite violent so if you're squeamish about that stuff then forget it, theres some teeth pulling scenes that made me cringe abit. If you liked Oldboy then make sure you check out Chanwook Park's other films in the vengeance trilogy like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance those two films were just as good, oh yeah and the film also used some stunning cinematography and great music which was very effective. The extras include a bunch of informative interviews with the director and some deleted and extended scenes and some trailers along with a commentary track. I hope you enjoy this beautiful ode to suffering and revenge, Asian cinema at its finest............. ...more info
Shallow complexity The great composer Gustav Mahler reportedly once said, in reference to his contemporary Puccini, "These days any idiot can orchestrate to perfection." I happen to love Puccini, but I think I understand the point Mahler was trying to make, that an artist can be technically proficient, a master craftsman in fact, and still create art that is slick, soulless and pedantic. This idea applies as much to film as it does to music. To paraphrase Mahler, "These days any idiot can edit to perfection." He can cut, paste, slice and dice, pan and scan with the best of them, he can rearrange his narrative so that it becomes a complicated jigsaw that the viewer has to invest some mental effort in putting back together, but that doesn't necessarily make him a great director. Oldboy is proof positive. Now, I don't mean to suggest that Chan-Wook Park is an idiot, I just think he's the kind of artist Mahler was talking about, a master craftsman whose film is slick, soulless and pedantic.
Past masters such as Ingmar Bergman and Luis Bunuel made obligue, complex pictures as well, cinematic puzzles so to speak, the kind a viewer has to think about before he can reach understanding, but the puzzle isn't so much about what happens onscreen, it involves piecing together what the film is ABOUT. Take Bergman's Through A Glass Darkly for example. The narrative part of the film is linear and straightforward, any ten-year-old watching the film could tell you what happens, the sequence of events, but could he tell you what it all means? The beauty of Through A Glass Darkly is its ability to make the viewer grow while watching it, make him contemplate his own feelings about God, family, relationships, spirituality, madness and art, and in effect he has the opportunity of becoming a more thoughtful and self-aware person via the experience. Does anybody really think that the decadent-for-its-own-sake Oldboy could have that kind of an impact on its viewership? Park's film is all about confusing the audience in a far less meaningful way, making the viewer work to reconstruct its fractured storyline, which to me is a more shallow form of complexity. That might sound like an oxymoron but it certainly applies. I'm not denying there's a message to the film, that obsessing over vengeance can turn a civilized person into a beast, into his own worst enemy, but that concept alone is hardly new or earth-shattering considering that Shakespeare wrote Hamlet centuries ago. A film that wants to pass itself off as great art needs more than that to qualify as substantive, instead, Oldboy uses its thematic pretensions, as well as its edgy, hyperkinetic editing, its swallowing orchestral motifs, its off-putting violence and depravity, in short its self-conscious artiness to distract the viewer from its nonsensical plot.
Be warned, the following paragraph contains spoilers, but since the purpose of this review is to dissuade potential viewers, the spoilers don't really matter. The story of Oldboy is basically a comic book plot blown up to pseudo-artistic proportions. It involves an absurd villain who blames the death of his sister on a fellow student from their high school years, but instead of confronting the guy years later, maybe punching him out, or holding a gun to his head and saying, "You ruined my life, you scumbag!," he comes up with an elaborate plan to carry out his vengeance that involves kidnapping the man, holding him prisoner in an apartment for fifteen years, hypnotizing him, murdering the man's wife and framing his victim for the crime, hypnotizing the man's daughter while financing a cover-up that leads the man to believe that the young woman is living in Switzerland, all this so that by the time the man escapes the daughter will be old enough, and unfamiliar, for him to unknowingly sleep with her!(Of course she also happens to be beautiful and sensual, a plain, sexless daughter would have very little use in the film, although I suppose the villain could have anonymously financed her plastic surgery, he manages to do everything else!) The reason for all this? While in high school, the man inadvertently started a rumor(which by the way is true) that the villain and his sister had sex. His crime was talking too much around the wrong people, as high school boys are wont to do. Anyone who thinks that the folks who appear on the Maury Show to confront bullies from their past need to get a life should take a serious look at this guy! He makes No Country For Old Men's Anton Chigurh seem like a subtle, realistic, and down-to-earth baddie by comparison. Of course our dastardly fiend has unlimited resources at his disposal, as all comic book villains do, he has wealth, a bodyguard, an army of thugs, access to hypnotists, hallucinatory gases, numerous penthouse apartments, revolutionary surveillance devices and other convenient technology, everything he needs to carry out his mad scheme, plus a heartlessness that allows him to exploit and maim and destroy(in some very gruesome sequences I might add, gruesome to the point of being almost unwatchable) until his vengeance is complete. All of this is presented in a style that is very garish and over-the-top, which is necessary, otherwise the viewer might think too much and recognize the preposterousness of it all. The prisoner becomes just as hungry for revenge, blurring the lines between good and evil but not in any way that is convincing, because Chan-Wook Park isn't interested in presenting us with a serious examination of violence and its causes, he's more interested in indulging his deranged imagination.
Modern film, television as well, has fallen in love with this in-your-face style of filmmaking, with circuitous storylines(here a twist, there a twist, everywhere a twist twist), graphic yet stylized gore, frenetic pacing and hallucinatory editing, but with little if any substance, and this is what passes for "smart." "These days any idiot can orchestrate to perfection." I hear ya, brother. I think I liked the old days better....more info
One of my favorite movies ever. It is just a great movie. Love it, Love it, Love it. It has an ending that Hollywood would NEVER, NEVER, EVER touch. It is just so unique. Sorry I'm being so vague, I just don't want to spoil it....more info
oldboy This movie was awsome... i saw this movie when it first came to the states a few years back..when i ordered it i was hopeing it would come befor the weekend and it did perfict condision ready for the watching.. and i did fall back in love with how well this movie was made and the story..beleave me when i say this is not for kids and carefull watching it with your girlfriend they dont look at you the same after watching it with them....more info
Totally Sweet the best revenge movie i've seen. watch it with subtitles though, the whole english dubbing ruines it in my opinion...more info
Blu-Ray version not totally 1080p While I like this movie, I must write here that as of April 2008, the version doesn't seem truly 1080p. It is a bit grainy... maybe it is 720p... the back of the box say 1080p but when I show this movie on the Blu Ray enabled computer with 1920 x 1200 LCD, it is different from other 1080p movies such as Troy or Planet Earth. Those you can tell they are 1080p as there is no grain and almost every frame is a perfect 1920 x 1080 photograph.
Who are you, Mr. Vengeance? You can learn a few things from this ultra violent, darker than dark Drama / Mystery / Thriller with the occasional elements of humor: you will learn the new meaning of words Fresh Sea Food, you will never be able to listen to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" the same way again, you will think twice before going to your Dentist's office. Be careful of what you say about anyone - you never know how your words can (and will) affect their (and what is most important your) life. And the last but not the least, revenge is the dish better served cold, 15 years cold. Without spoiling anything, no matter how far and how fast we try to get away from our destiny, each step would bring us closer to it until the inevitable and shocking "Appointment in Samarra".
I have mixed feelings for the movie. It is very impressive, and trying to take the story in its second hour to Sophocles's realm was a clever twist but something stops me from pronouncing it great. The more I think the less I like it and the reasons are incoherent plotting, very ambiguous moral equation, and technical sloppiness that insult my intelligence.
Threre are two things that impressed me the most - fascinating performance by an octopus (sadly, it was its one and only performance) and the story of a guy with a little dog that we never heard. I'd love to hear his story.
makes you think how everyday actions effect your future why was this man kept prisoner for 15 years? it does not matter if he can not get out. well one day he gets his freedom. he has five days to find out why he was put there and to get revenge on the people that did it to him. straight to the point, easy plot right? yes and no. revenge is a hard thing to do.
graphic is the best word to describe this movie and the ending will probably result in you picking your jaw off of the floor. ...more info
Definitely the Best film to come out of Korea Saw this film few years back and just had a chance to revisit it again thanks to netflix.
When watched this for the first time, I was literally on the edge of my seat entire length of the movie.
This movie was well received by most critics and reviews because of it's plot, beautiful cinematography and grotesque violence/scenes. Although I agree, what really intrigued me about this movie was the bottom line story. The fact that how such a seemingly naive ones action in his youth resulted turmoil and pain it caused later in his life. The way this movies builds up and takes us back and forth from past/current to the ending of this movie was beautifully done.
Definitely makes my list of Top 5 favorite movies of all time. ...more info
The Ultimate Revenge Masterpiece from South Korea! South Korea has been making some outstanding movies these last couple of years, but unfortunately not many people have given enough credit to these remarkable movies.
The director Chan-wook Park showed what he was capable of doing in South Korea with his first smash hit movie Joint Security Area.
After that he went into a complete different territory with the very dark, but excellent thriller Sympathy for Mr Vengeance.
Due to it's dark theme Sympathy failed to attract the repeated success of Joint Security Area.
Did that stop Chan-wook Park from making more movies?
Chan-Wook Park is back with a Vengeance himself giving us the Ultimate Revenge Masterpiece Oldboy!
I wish I can comment more on this movie, but doing that could be a threat in spoiling this amazing experience in cinematic history!
Instead I will focus my review on the acting and direction of the movie. As many are aware now, the movie revolves around a man imprisoned in an apartment for 15 years. The motive of the movie is revenge. But the most important answer to all this revenge is WHY????
This movie will litterly have you nailed to your seat. Yes, it's very violent, I would say graphic as in the likes of Last house on the left, though NEVER exploited in that sense. This movie is all brains!
The direction is the first thing that will have you in awe. From the first 15mins of the movie, you will see how masterfully this movie is shot. In a split screen scene you will actually feel what this man has missed in those 15 years imprisoned in this apartment. His anger for his imprisonment, the complete mess in his look and clothes are all truly convincing by Choi Min-shik who has appeared in two other big Korean movies which are Failan and the award winning movie at Cannes last year Chihwaseon.
As I have already mentioned the violence is very graphic and will probably be rated in the USA NC17. Which is understandable. But do not let that cursed rating put you off. This movie is bound to have you talking and discussing for days if not for months. Just be very well prepared for the final shocking twist!
Well done Chan-wook Park you have showed the world what a truly excellent film director you are. Oldboy gets a well deserved 10/10
Revenge Taken to The Extreme!!! If you like revenge films, you will not be dissapointed with this one. This is the Craziest movie i have ever seen,especially the ending!!!
This is truely one of the best foreign films i have ever seen.
This is A dvd that you must add to your collection!!!...more info
what a joke... this is a sick and disgusting movie that just took great ideas from other movies and mashed it up and added the "shock" factor. Really? I mean is this what movies are coming to? don't waste your time on this....
its really sickening that a movie like this is even being made... really it is.
I kept waiting for a redeeming moment like waking up from a bad dream-- only reason I kept watching. I wasn't waiting for a "good" ending because that's not always what makes a movie, or even a fairy tale ending. But when the end hit I was actually mad, strangely enough. I never get irritated from movies? but to have however many hours sucked out of my life only to be suckered in by good cinematography was really irritating.
a 5 year old with a camera and some glue could have made a better movie... I agree that anyone can just copy paste great angles and colors and orchestrate complete trash--exactly what this was. Good composition + Stabbing people - any sort of good plot = good movie?... nope. ...more info
Don't waste your $$$ Don't waste your money seeing this grotesque movie. I'm not a prude and I enjoy watching stylized violence in an action flick, where the story calls for it. However, this movie goes way over the line with incest and a very twisted act of revenge. There's nothing redeeming about this movie. I'm really ashamed that something like this came from Korean media. Thumbs way way down on this movie......more info
Stepping Out of Reality Into Reel Reality Twice a year I travel down to New Jersey for a film convention that guest hosts
television / film actors...directors / producers / distributors. Tartan Videos always
has 'The Exhibitor Table' of Extreme Asian Videos. These people hand out
lots of free promo catalogs / trailer dvds / posters that you just have to have if
you're a jaded traveler of the film underworld. That's where I first came across
'OLD BOY'. It was only an advance promo reel; but, the footage on that reel was
just incredible! Old Boy - the main character of the film - is in one of the most
vicious fight sequences that I've ever seen on film. Wow ! Just had to have that
film. Bought the only promo the dealer had. That was two years ago.
Never thought any film could surpass it's intensity until I found the 'Ultimate Collector's
Edition' of Old Boy on Amazon. There's everything you could ever want in this
compilation ! YOU GET VOLUME ONE OF THE BOOK that inspired the series.
You get to live on the streets of Japan with the film crew for the four months that they
shot the film. ...cast interviews.....deleted scenes...the premiere at Cannes !
-It's packaged in a tin box that feels real heavy in your hand-
you'd think this would cost over one dollars with all of the time and quality put into it
- nope -
for less then thirty dollars
this is definitely the film to have in your collection !
- OLD BOY -
It's never pleasant when a man has to put his life aside for revenge. Lots have been said about this film. It is neither a classic nor a flop. After seeing this film last night I found it to be pretty good. There's no reason to bash this film because it does deserve to be rated moderately. When rating a film I ask myself what the film is giving the audience and what the message that the director is pushing across.
Like Sympathy...Oldboy is another film concerned with the theme of revenge but on a first glance, seems a little more straightforward in it's approach. On the surface, this seems like a simple revenge fantasy, but as the mystery of why he was subjected to his confinement unfurls, things become a little more complicated. Lee Woo-Jin, his nemesis is at first a cold, calculating man fixated on destroying Dae-Su, but once his reason for doing so becomes clear, its hard not to feel just a little sympathy for him. Furthermore, Park pulls plot twist after plot twist out of his film makers bag of tricks, but manages to keep it from becoming disorientating like in say, Identity and the pace of the film does not suffer for these quiet, analytical sequences.
However, what ultimately lets it down is that you get the feeling Park wasn't totally decided on what sort of film to make. Sympathy...for all its flaws had no misgivings about the fact it was a dark revenge tale, but Oldboy cannot seem to decide whether it is a action spectacle or a twisted, Oedipal tragedy. The infamous corridor fight sequence for instance, while fun, seems extremely out of place with the rest of the film and can we really believe that Dae-Su is such a great fighter, when all the training he has done has consisted of shadow boxing? And whoever was in charge of casting should of ask for a second opinion, as Dae-Su and Woo-Jin look to have about fifteen years of age difference between them, when they're supposed to be almost the same age.
Aside from that Min-sik Choi gives the performance of that year and potentially his career. As Oh Dae-su, he undergoes a transformation of at least three different persona's, performed almost all of his own stunts and otherwise poured his heart into the movie. I will say `OldBoy' kept me entertain and didn't bore me one bit. It's truly work watching.
Stunning "Oldboy" is an excellent film. Its violence is startling. Korea has two major film festivals, one is government-sponsored while the Blue Dragon festival has been controversial because it is sponsored by a conservative newspaper -- like the Fox news of Korea -- and has had scandals about vote buying. Despite that controversy, from what I've read, it is highly influential in Korea. This film won three major Blue Dragon creative awards. Park Chan-Wook won as Best Director; Choi Min-Sik won as Best Actor; and Gang Hye-jeong (or Hye-jeong Kang) won as Best Actress. The film also won the Grand Prix Award @ Cannes in 2004.
The story grabs you from the start. We watched the DVD in Korean with English subtitles to hear the powerful original voices of the actors. As Oh Dae-su, Choi Min-sik does a masterful leading performance. His character goes from obnoxious drunk to the driven haggard man who seeks revenge. Both he and Yu Ji-tae again work with director Park Chan-Wook on "Lady Vengeance," with a similar theme, this time with a woman falsely imprisoned. Yu Ji-tae as Lee Woo-Jin is a smooth corporate success. The set designer creates a cold austere penthouse where Lee Woo-Jin showers in a glass stall in his office and has waterways built into the floor. The subplot of his illicit relationship with his sister and his murder of her is chilling. Gang Hye-jeong as Mi-do does a good job of being the unstable caregiver that adopts Oh Dae-su upon his release and falls in love with him. Oh Dae-su's best friend No joo-hwan is played by the paunchy Dae-han Ji and fills the role with believable friendly support.
The images in this film are startling. Oh Dae-su eats an Octopus. (Apparently, Choi Min-sik is a Buddhist and had to do prayers after this scene.) The tongue scene was gruesome & hard to watch. The actor who plays the blond assistant to Lee Woo-Jin also did an excellent job throughout the movie. The cinematography is top rate. From the prison set that looks like an Asian Motel 6 to the penthouse to the outdoor images, "Oldboy" visually impresses the viewer. While I read the usual accolades on the DVD box, I was not expecting such an excellent film. This one is stunning. Bravo! ...more info
This Oldboy's Life I'm surprised to see that no one else has written about this collector's edition DVD package because it's so cool that it needs to be spoken about in some form or other. It comes in a metal box which is exactly the same dimensions as the box that the HBO series "Band of Brothers" came in. There's that which is already pretty nice but inside is where you find the real treasure. The film comes in a three disc set, each one in an individual slipcase with one of the three main characters in the film on the cover. The presentationof the film is on par with, if not above the quality of the previous Tartan video release in terms of picture and sound. This set has a 6.1 DTS mix which is nice, clear and loud. The picture is very nice as it should be, since this film is beautifully shot. There are plenty of bonus features like commentary and featurettes but the third disc has the best supplementary feature which is a production diary from the entire shoot. I think this is one of the shining examples of a behind the scenes documentary done right as it really shows you what goes in to making a film and how much hard work it can be. It's lengthy, it's detailed and thankfully, it has English subtitles because I don't speak a lick of Korean. Just for this documentary alone, this set is worth picking up.
Finally, you get not only a 35mm film strip encased in a nice cardboard sleeve, you get a miniaturized graphic novel of the original similarly titled Japanese Manga that the film was based off of. If you've seen the special edition of Sin City that came with the Hard Goodbye graphic novel, it's just like that except its printed in reverse and you have to read it from back cover to front like you would with an actual Japanese book! (Don't worry, the language is in English so you can still read it)
This is easily one of the best recommendations I can make. If you love the movie, this is a no-brainer. If you know someone else who loves this movie, this would make a great gift. Either way, this is one of the coolest all around DVD packages I've ever picked up and believe me, I've picked up plenty. ...more info
beautiful and important this is quite possibly the most beautiful revenge film ever made. the script, which has been overlooked, hits very important topics regarding life and the decisions that you make during it. the acting is phenomenal and the violence is perfectly coreographed to be very visual but relates to the story. (ive read that is considered an ultra violent tarantino comparison....very untrue). bottom line this movie is a very entertaining movie but if you listen and pay attention to the words, it will strike a chord with you
Best collector's set ever! I absolutely love the stylization of this film. After purchasing the collector's edition, I sat through the day by day film auto-biography that was 3 1/2 hours long and very good. it was amazing to see all the hard work that was put into the making of the film. it also has a segment of interviews after the movie was shot and a short documentary about taking the film to cannes. on top of all the other extras i didnt mention, it also includes an actual cell from the american subtitled version of the movie and the manga. i would highly recommend this to anyone i know even if they have never seen the film....more info
Oldboy - Crime Drama, Thriller, Horror - Whatever Category, This Movie Is Great Oldboy is a movie that defies classification. This movie could easily be sliced and diced into three or four genres and be in the upper echelon of any of them. In fact, even writing a review of this movie is a challenge. Basic plot synopses will not give you a sense of how original and well made this movie is. This is the rare gem; you can either watch it simply for enjoyment, or peel back the layers like an onion and study each one.
There are a few warnings however. This film is not for the squeamish. After lulling you in with some slow segments, the movie can turn very violent and gruesome in an instant. The film also touches upon some controversial topics, so it is not for the judgmental or the easily offended. An important aspect to remember when watching this movie is that many of the social norms of Korean culture, and Asian culture in general, are so different from our own that it may be hard for some people to understand why characters make the choices they do. If you are open-minded and study the film carefully, there is a lot of depth and meaning in that too.
The movie really occurs in several unique sections that are tied together at the end. The basic formula has been described as a "revenge thriller" but the story changes in such a way to make that category inadequate.
Dae-Su (Min-Sik Choi) is an unfortunate man who gets drunk and kidnapped. He is held captive in a cheap motel room for a very long time, with no real understanding of who is holding him or why. All attempts to escape or find out why he is there result in nothing.
The story then takes a turn as Dae su is released under mysterious circumstances. He vows revenge against his captors.
Dae Su seems to have a loose grip on reality after years of captivity and we see him slip further into madness as he seeks his tormentors. As we follow his search for his captors and his difficult integration back into society, small clues start to emerge about Dae Su's past and who might have been behind his imprisonment. There is more than just one twist to the story, and each plot element adds a new layer.
He befriends a woman in a sushi bar and they develop a quick relationship. As all the plot elements collide, we see that nobody in the story is exactly who we think they are.
The end results in a very thought-provoking dilemma which questions the fundamental nature of many of life's basic human relationships. Love, hate, revenge; they are all put under the microscope in this movie.
The film is shot beautifully and has many beautiful scenes. Colors and shadows are used to create and foreshadow emotion.
The DVD extras include standard fare, such as interviews, deleted scenes, trailers and a commentary track.
This movie is a must-see if you enjoy psychological horror, as long as you can set aside your squeamishness. If you like psychological drama, horror, or thrillers this may be the best movie you've seen recently in any of those categories. Watch it with an open mind and avoid plot spoilers. Once you've seen it, you'll probably want to see it again.
Hollywood Take Notice Oldboy is, in my opinion, one of the well-made films I've ever seen. Park Chan-wook has developed a magnificent way of storytelling, filled with visceral and disturbing images that work effectively toward the overall. The idea of an ordinary man abducted and torn from his family only to be locked in a cheap hotel room for 15 years FOR NO APPARENT REASON is genius. He has five days to figure out why this was done to him and exact his revenge. I'd say that any smart Hollywood scriptwriter is probably mashing his brains on how to spin this into a US blockbuster (I don't blame them: the Indian film Zinda already ripped it off).
The acting was top-notch, especially Choi Min-sik's Oh Dae-su character. I think he totally killed in this role (betcha didn't know that octupus he ate was actually REAL?!), and the supporting roles of his tormentor and his lover were also very good. Park knows how to pick his actors and evidently can motivate them to do any role, no matter how disturbing the matrerial.
Obviously, I don't want to divulge the secret that this tale has to tell. After all, it is the secret that drives this entire story and will bring audiences to a nerve-shattering but satisfying climax. The DVD is filled with special features, but I suspect that the special metal box edition is certainly the must-have for any fan of this film. Either way, I don't think anyone would be disappointed in purchasing this movie....more info
great great condition, almost new and the movie blew my mind. but the end is what twisted me....more info
Great movie If you're a type of person who loves it when a movie comes together in the end with a surprising twist this movie is for you.
I don't really want to give away too much but this movie is a little similar to Se7en. The beginning and the middle of the movie might not seem to make sense or seem like its dragging but the ending you will definitely tie up all loose ends and leave you shocked. ...more info
Genius With A Vengeance Written By: Lisa Fore
? Dystopia Magazine | Asian Edition | June 2007
"Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone."
After getting busted for being drunk and extremely disorderly, rumpled businessman Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) gets angrier and angrier as he sits at a station waiting for the police to release him because he has to go home--it's his little girl's birthday. Getting nowhere with the standard inebriated outbursts and tantrums, he tries to flip on the charm and show the police he's a nice guy (in a fantastic set of hysterical cut shots): a proud papa--shoving pictures of his daughter at the cops; an entertainer -- dancing and singing while wearing a small set of angel wings he bought as a birthday present for his little angel; and finally as a regular Joe--by flirting with a younger girl (who also happens to be sitting right next to her boyfriend). It's still a no-go with the cops however, until Dae-su's best friend, Joo-Hwan, comes to bail him out. While his friend apologizes profusely to the police, Oh Dae-su waits (quietly--to everyone's surprise I'm sure), until he does the regional equivalent of giving the cops the middle finger and scrambles from the station.
We find him in a phone booth calling his daughter to apologize for being late, and he suddenly puts his friend on the phone (looking to avoid a screaming wife who's bound to jump on any second--well maybe in Asia it's considered `concerned nagging') and steps out of the phone booth.
It becomes the biggest mistake of Dae-su's life.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Oldboy is a true rarity. While it's the second film that ever made me restart the DVD immediately after the final credits (Usual Suspects being the first), it's the first to make me do it four times in a row.(When it's that good, I tend to get "a tad" obsessive-compulsive.)
This three act thriller is a total descent into the power of human will, that while full of raging action is even more horrific than any giant deity flailing a chainsaw through ridiculous sequels or CGI boogeyman (or woman or child) because this is the ultimate psychological game, and for all of it's intricate details, Oldboy is actually plausible...with the right kind of connections and patience.
The screenplay is brilliant, with dialogue that's actually practical and informative---no weak red herrings or filler chat-chat here; the direction and cinematography are phenomenal, smooth and (here's another rare part) ultimately and intimately involving---Park brings the audience Dae-su's ordeal with moments of claustrophobia and even the relief of space (I actually caught myself inhaling deeply once he was released) that can't help but bring us right into his head, and naturally sympathize completely with his plans of revenge.
The extent of his captor's cruelty and the purity of Dae-su's determination for absolution are truly astounding. I also definitely recommend watching it in it's native language (Korean) with subtitles, even though it has the option of English audio; Choi's tone and passion put the final stamp of perfection on the entire film. If you aren't emotionally exhausted by Choi's magnificent performance, then check your pulse, cuz the man has got serious game.
Sir Anthony Hopkins. Robert De Niro. Al Pacino. Choi Min-sik.
Oh yeah people, he's easily sits among the greatest in the world.
Oldboy is an absolute masterpiece: psychologically brutal, darkly hilarious, beautifully presented and completely disturbing---results only possible by those who understand true human frailty and drive.
I became a fan of Choi Min-sik and Park Chan-wook after the first run--they totally broke my mind and I absolutely love them for it. ...more info
Entertaining mystery/thriller with plenty of plot twists and turns! I won't give away too much of this film's plot, as part of the enjoyment is the anticipation of what happens next from very early on (and I would encourage avoiding other reviews that give too much away and just watch it!) This being said, early on the film's protagonist is kidnapped and locked away in a room for reasons which are unknown to him. Beyond being feed, cleaned, and treated medically, his captors completely refuse to communicate with him who they are or why he is being held (however, his "cell" does come furnished with a TV - his only means of receiving communication from the outside world!).
Generally this Korean-made suspense/thriller (with English subtitles) was received well by critics. Part of the enjoyment unquestionably is the twists and turns of the plot throughout. Overall, very fine acting and a plot that (near as I can tell) holds up; whether one truly buys the bizarre storyline may depend on the particular viewer.
I give it a thumbs up - it's definitely memorable, stylistic, and entertaining, though it seems to fall under the trend of thrillers world-wide that seem to be competing for "one-ups-manship" in the areas of extreme plot, violence, mutilation, and perversity. I would give it around 7 out of a scale of ten. I would add that it is one that seems worth a second viewing based on being full of subtle plot details that the viewer may not pick up on their meaning the first time.
Though it's not considered a horror, in outrageousness, some aspects it seem to rival the Japanese made horror movie, "Audition."
Help me get this film out of my brain....... Hello God, it's me.......ummmm, I can't really remember my name right now. I just watched the biggest mind f@#* of my life last night and still can't shake it from my head. Not really sure what to write other than the fact that I was pretty sure that I had seen it all, but I guess it's good to know that there are some things in this world can still shake you to your core.....for better or for worse.
All I know is that if I was ever abducted and locked away for 15 years....trust me, I wouldn't have been able to handle it quite as well as Oh Dae-Su.
Nothing I could write down here should be able to influence you as to whether or not you should see this movie. If you've got a strong stomach and a good moral center than you should be able to walk away from this movie somewhat numb but knowing that maybe your life isn't really that bad after all.
However, if you've ever really hurt somebody in your life, maybe not physically or even intentionally, to the point where they have dedicated their whole life to making yours a living hell.......then might I suggest that you sleep with one eye open.....
I think maybe I'll go to church today, something I haven't done in years. And I'm not saying that to be funny either....more info
This left me speechless and unable to watch any other movie for quite some time At the denouement of this film, I believe I had just seen the only film that had left me speechless EVER. I couldn't watch another movie for quite some time afterwards. I don't even know if I could watch it a second time, which is meant as a compliment...it might take me a few years to get over watching the incredible ending.
I frown on thinking that Hollywood might 'steal' this film (remake)...it is WAY too intense for Hollywood.
I consider myself a rather jaded movie watcher; I've been able to watch movies other people have considered unwatchable, but this really is in a special category. I couldn't ever imagine seeing anything like this on the big screen...it would be *way* too much for me....more info
Excessively brutal I watched this a few years back, and I still remember all of it. The revenge plot may be simple, but it starts to become much more when the movie progresses, and the ending is purely disturbing at many levels. I'm not going to give much on the plot, but I will say that this movie is not for the sqeamish. There's lots of gore, sexual content, and (arguably) surrealism. This isn't one of my favorites, but I did get alot from it.
Incredible technique, but a disgusting apologia for violence and sex crime. First of all, Oldboy really only has one film with which you can compare it and that's Fight Club. Yet whereas Fincher's film explored the origins of, and visceral release of violence, this guy Park just loves the stuff and there seems to be no limit to the lengths he will exploit it for cinematic gain. All wrapped safely in sarcasm and black humor of course. The tone of the original Japanese manga is considerably different; it is much more of an intense, existential story of a man losing his identity.
Yes, it is quite jaw-dropping how well this guy can stage a scene and elicit dry humor amidst total degradation. He also knows good music and the film looks extremely cool with its color palette, endless reams of rotting geometric wallpaper and first-rate art direction. Some of the coolest titles you'll lay eyes on as well.
But this film crosses the line into repulsive ethical territory without condemning it. This is all started in American Films of the 60s with treating criminals and violent acts with sympathy -- but Oldboy wallows in horrendous acts of brutality and treats them like a video game. Even worse is the sexuality of the film, which progresses from unsettling to extremely disturbing by the end. And make no mistake about it, Park really is offering an apologia to a sex crime that has been degenerate for millenia in any civilized society. Unbelievable. You can accuse me of American parochialism but I think this film transcends the usual frame of reference: wanker Hollywood endings or Judeo-Christian hypocrisy.
So, it is difficult to rate a film of such talent and technique while not hating it for what it is saying. "Just because I am a beast...." Give me a break....more info
A Meticulously Crafted Masterpiece, Both a Modern Tragedy and a Contemporary Classic... OLDBOY is the 2nd installment of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance trilogy that is loosely based on the Japanese comic by Tsuchiya Garon and Minegishi Nobuaki. I use the term "loosely" because the plot, characters and almost everything else is completely re-worked for the big screen. I've read that Park saw his film; "Sympathy with Mr. Vengeance" a sort of commercial failure, so he comes back with an effective counter-attack. Oldboy made me re-think the old adage: revenge is best served cold, because this film emits SCORCHING FIRE.
Oh Daesu (Choi Min-Sik) is a man with a wife and child. He is kidnapped and kept in captivity in a small room, fed with dumplings mostly as his main dish, with only a television to keep him company for 15 years. Someone paid an obscene amount of money to incarcerate him indefinitely. Mentally tortured and overcome with a desire for revenge, he plots for escape. One day, he is set free and dumped in the streets, with a suit to wear and left with some money. Daesu meets and hooks up with a young sushi chef; Mido (Hye-Jeong Kang) to look for the man responsible for his incarceration.
"Oldboy" has a lot of visual wallop and visceral punch. Park's stylish direction and the VERY intriguing premise are truly awesome. There are quite a few films that really stayed with me; this film is one of them. I can still clearly remember the great soundtrack, the visually original hallway fight, the tooth-pulling, the live octopus devouring and others. The ingenious style of its direction and the balanced intensity of its execution keep the proceedings grounded. The plot is a bit over-the-top but to the director's credit, it remains balanced and believable.
This film may be considered an ultra-violent dark film by most people but it is actually very tame when it comes to blood and gore. The proceedings are so well executed that the atmosphere emulates violence and darkness. The very set up and sequences of what happens in each shot creates a lot of tension that people will remember it as a very dark and violent film, that it is in fact gorier and bloodier than it actually is. Park has the hand of an artist and is a true visionary to be able to pull off this sensory manipulation. "Oldboy" has a lot of uncompromising twists and turns. You will have to keep in mind that Park's films are usually a character study of its main characters.
Aside from Park's stellar direction and premise, the film draws its strength from its excellent cast. Choi Min-Sik gives a near-stellar performance as the main character. I remember his haircut that looks almost like a mangled lion with a chopped black mane. His portrayal of a BROKEN everyday man is one of the reasons why "Oldboy" has been elevated to "cult status". The film's final image; Choi's joyful but at the same time, infinitely sorrowful SMILE will forever be remembered by its audiences. Ji-Tae Yu plays the villain; Woo-Jin, suave and handsome; with his Bond-like physical attributes and a very elegant charisma. Despite his good looks, Ji-Tae Yu has a very menacing presence and does command attention like a deity, with a "mere" mortal as his plaything.
One VERY minor (so minor) fault the film may have is that the method of which the actual revenge is executed. The hint of hypnotism may require a tiny suspension of disbelief. Everything plays out so well for the antagonist; we are all expected to believe that he is a genius, with an intellect dedicated to the torture and punishment of one man. He has dedicated 2 decades of his life to his vengeance which may be one of the coldest, if not, certainly the most perverse. However, this very minor flaw is forgivable, because the film is so focused and succeeds in immersing us in its sequences that all we consider are the things that it has done PERFECT.
Oldboy explores a moral issue about vengeance; what happens next after you do exact your revenge? If revenge becomes a main focus of your life, what else is there to live for? With Daesu and Lee Woo-Jin, the answer is very different.
OLDBOY is PURE contrasting cinematic genius; it is repulsively ugly but at the same time, it is breathtakingly beautiful. It is gut-wrenching but at the same time it is very delicate. It is cold but indeed emotional. It is mind-bending at times and certainly artistic in its execution. With its flair and style, it is a bunch of contradictions that adheres to coherency.
Park will not only entertain but make you uncomfortable. It does no other film has done: to entertain at the same time analyzes pure emotional pain. It is TERRIFIC!
Highest Possible Recommendation! [ 5- Stars]
Recent News: Hollywood will be re-making this film with the director of "Better Luck Tomorrow" at the helm. I was watching MTV when I heard this news; Good or bad? Let's wait and see...
Old Boy is a great movie! My Korean girlfriend had told me about this movie, so I ordered it. It is a fantastic movie. Very well made, acted and filmed. The story is amazing with some unique twists. I heard they are going to remake this in America and Speilberg is directing? Why mess with an already great film? Well worth owning. Superfast shipping, product exactly as described....more info
Great Movie This is how a collectors edition of a movie should be done. It has a comic book that the movie is based on, a film cell, and it is 3 discs. It has director and cast commentaries, deleted scenes, behind the scene documentaries, and a video diary of making Oldboy, which is 212 minutes. So, if you like this movie, this is definately the edition to pick up. ...more info
I wish I could give it zero stars This film is sick. I couldn't watch it when he was eating a live aquatic animal (I think it was a baby octopus?); I thought it was cruel and barbaric. I immediately stopped watching it and felt nothing but disgust and contempt. Avoid this film by all means.
I also read some of the other reviews, and apparently, the main character goes on to do disgusting things to other human beings as well. At least those scenes weren't "real," but still, why would anyone want to watch nothing but endless violence and misery?...more info
Please don't call this a horror film! DISCLAIMER: I will try my best not to spoil anything in this review, since it is far better to watch this movie knowing as little as possible.
I just finished 'experiencing' Old Boy (it somehow felt more like an experience as opposed to merely watching the film) and was quite happy to find it wasn't a "horror" movie, as it had been advertised. Rather, I would characterize it as a psychological thriller or revenge thriller.
The film was purposely frustrating for the first forty minutes or so - neither the audience nor the protagonist knew why he was imprisoned for fifteen years. However, once he is "freed," the film really picks up, the surprises are plentiful, and the ultimate realizations really push the envelope. While some may find it slightly "twisted" (American viewers like myself who aren't used to seeing some of the topics depcited in our Hollywood films), it is shocking in a good way - very thought-provoking and a great discussion piece.
While I recommend this film for those who aren't queasy, are interested in psychological thrillers and the concept of revenge, I do not recommend it for anyone under 15 years old (or thereabouts).
Rent dont buy. Interesting and unique story but it falls short of all the hype. I wont do a plot synopsis for this film due to a tight plotline, it would only spoil the ride for you. Although you wont guess how this will end it wont satisfy you like "the usual suspects" did. Most will not find pleasure in re watching this,save your $20 and rent this. Also, not for the kiddies. Nuff said....more info
Guilt and punishment are purely unfathomable This film, in spite of its sulfuric reputation, and the direct connection established by the media in the recent Virginia Tech massacre case, is a masterpiece. A boy has been privately imprisoned for fifteen years with no explanation at all, and of course no trial. It was a private initiative taken by some kind of criminal organization controlled by some kind of mafia itself organized by the entrepreneurial rich. When he is freed he tries to find out why he had been imprisoned like that and to get even with those responsible for it, hence to get his vengeance. The film is a lot more powerful than that in fact, than a simple vengeance case. He will understand that he had known something he shouldn't have known, and he had used it against a schoolmate of his though he should have known he should have kept it for himself, he should have kept his trap shut. And his talking, even if very little, was enough to cause the suicide of a person, and it is the schoolmate of his and lover of the suicidee that went through with his own justice. The film becomes great when the victim of this imprisonment understand his mistake, his crime, his responsibility in the death of the other person and mutilates his speaking for him never to speak anymore. But then the schoolmate, quite older of course understand that he caused a lot of suffering, the death of his victim's wife for instance and the disappearance of his daughter. He then brings justice back onto himself. And the Old Boy, meaning the boy who got old in this private prison, can finally tell the story, in writ, to a woman friend of his and he finally rediscovers love, even if mute love. And this time the film becomes a rewriting of Oedipus' myth: the criminal, unaware of his crime, blinds himself when he discovers the amplitude of his criminal attitude and will die slowly in poverty, rejection and begging. Here the responsibility is definitely shared, silence is imposed onto the criminal tongue, but death comes to the avenging initial criminal who did the first unlawful act that was revealed by the Old Boy, and this Old Boy can then rediscover love again via his writing down his own story. Guilt is always a shared human dimension and punishment must also be shared though some innocent people will pay for the crimes of others and the initial criminal will have to pay more than the subsequent ones. The human species is a very barbaric animal race and yet it is haunted by justice.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine & University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
Amazing This is the true Oldboy HD experience! A story of this magnitude should only be experienced in the best quality possible. I have watched this movie nearly 3 times in one day!...more info
Brutal and Brilliant This film is not for the faint of heart. And even for those who think they can handle it...man oh man. It's brutal, violent, gory, messy, messed-up...and absolutely brilliant. Dont let the subtitles scare you, this is a Korean masterpiece....more info
A Picutre Perfect Art its hard not to love this movie, the twist in this story is so marvelous, you are sitting and watching the life of a man be ruined for 15 years. the ultimate revenge, and then not only is he forced to find who has caused him so much pain, but he is also forced to find out why. its a mind twisting and mind bottling experience! ...more info
Don't watch this with your mother!!! I had no idea what this film was about, but I got it for xmas.. I have a great dvd collection, and I love foreign films.. I was excited to recieve such a present from my uncle... So I decided to sit down with my mom and watch it. Yea, big mistake.. At first we were both enjoying it, at the teeth scene she was screaming.. (pretty funny).. and when remembering the old high school days, I figured out the entire plot.. My mom didnt believe me, so she sat through the whole movie-- hoping that I was wrong.. Sorry mom to dissapoint, its not a disney movie.. Anyways very disturbing movie, that has a great score, suspensful action and more.. But it def isnt for the average joe. At the end my mother said she never wants to watch another movie my uncle gives me again.. lol I read some reviews and people on here overrate the violence factor, but to each his own. I would reccomend to rent first....more info
Graphic violence detracts from great acting It is a solid mystery with a stellar cast and excellent acting, but I just couldn't warm up to the underlying theme of visceral violence, self-mutilation, and, most disturbing of all, incest. If you are open to controversial topics, then I'd recommend this movie. If not, this may leave bad taste in your mouth. ...more info
Pleasantly shocking Old Boy is the second film in the Revenge Trilogy by Park. The first is Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and the final being Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
After being imprisoned for 15 years, Ho Dae-su (whose name means "getting along with everybody") is released and finds he only has 5 days to find his captor and seek his revenge. Once the captor is found, Dae-su will learn about a past he conveniently forgot and find he is in for an even bigger surprise during the final confrontation.
The film is mesmerizing, hypnotic, and well edited with flashbacks and jump cuts. Park makes an elevator ride feel like a roller coaster. There is a notable fight sequence referred to as the "one-take corrider scene" where Dae-su takes several men in mostly hand-to-hand and hammer-to-head combat.
This is a powerful film. It is a meditation on our addiction to TV, the bloody thirst for revenge, and the tomfoolery your mind resorts to when it is forced to relive your memories. The film will make you question the importance of forgetting, forgiving, and the satisfaction, or lack there of, in seeking revenge.
The movie has an incredible build leading up to the finale. The end scene is full of twists. You will be amazed and you watch the truth slowly unravel. You learn that one memory is not as it appears and that another more important memory holding the key to the puzzle was completely forgotten. You will learn that getting the revenge is not the most important thing, but instead be able to live with yourself is. You will find that neither man will be able to do so, which leads to an explosive ending. There is also a bizarre, if not disgusting, love story at the center of this.
Favorite Quote: Too many good ones to mention. It is a tie between "Be it a grain of sand or a rock - They both sink" and "Revenge is good for your health, but Pain will find you again."
DVD Extras: Commentary, Multiple Deleted Scenes, Interview with director, Still Gallery, and Trailers from Tartan Asia Extreme.
Bottom Line: You will be entranced while following the plot and pleasantly shocked the surprise ending. I will be seeking out Park's other work as well and I suggest you do the same.
If you're a film maker, you GOT to have this! The third disc is the most helpful for film makers. The Koreans have so many little stuff that we all can learn that can save time and money.
For example, using a peg as a slate.
There's so much more but I'm not going to spoil it for ya. If you love the film; the colors, the shooting style and the story - Get it! ...more info
Watch THIS Movie! Excellent film. The 1st time I watched this movie it was dubbed and with subtitles (which was a little distracting). You do NOT want to be distracted when watching this movie. Every detail is important to the plot. I think that you will enjoy this movie....more info
A Nice Surprise I wasn't really sure sure what to expect from this since I hadn't seen anything from Chan-wook Park, but having been so disappointed by American movies lately and so impressed by foreign films of late I gave this a try and was very impressed by it.
Twisted love story to the nth degree.
Pretty much every other review and the film synopsis will tell you the plot so I don't need to rehash that but I will say that the acting was fantastic and the plot twist was unexpected and disturbing. It's certainly not a film for people who like lighthearted themes as this will likely not be the movie for you. It stuck with me for a while and I loved that about it. I just rented Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and am looking for to seeing if it will meet my expectations!...more info
This is a good movie!? This movie is what really got me into the Asian cinema scene, because it's so damn good. Too bad there aren't many other movies like it. It is also really hard to explain why this movie is so good too. Don't get me wrong; Oldboy is sick. I don't really want to get into that without spoiling the film. Let's put it this way; any unsettling thing you have read or heard about this movie is probably true. Just trust me. It is super sick...and I would not have it any other way! Let me remind everybody that this movie is not for everyone. I have very very very particular tastes in everything and what I like is probably not for most people. This being at the top of my list. If you want something different and are bored with the cookie cutter Hollywood trash that spews out every month, see this movie. I recommend this edition if you can find it cheap. I'm not into special features that much, but if you are , by all means buy this one. It has two whole discs loaded with commentary, deleted scenes, making of, ect. Whats really cool is it comes with the first volume of the manga, which is a pretty good read.
In closing, this movie is awesome...if you are sick in the head (which I think we all have to admit we are). Not for the squeamish one bit...more info
Powerful, poetic violence Easily the best of the director's "Vengeance" trilogy. While all three films give us memorable characters and poweful emotions, OLDBOY carries us through a cohesive and thrilling story, including a great ending. A dark, fantastic puzzle....more info
Metacinema References to "Oldboy" abound with words such as ultra-violent and gory. And yet, in the end, the gore is psychological rather than physical (though cutting out your own tongue with scissors is an admittedly bloody feat). "Oldboy" is a film entirely in a class of its own, mixing mystery, violence, and a plot that mind-bendingly unravels to a surprising conclusion. "Oldboy" plays well, it looks great, and is satisfying at every level; plot, action, story, and twist. The helping hand lent by the New Zealand Film Unit ensures crisp cine and those jagged, snow-topped Korean hills are as sharply captured as claw-hammer dentistry or the ingestion of a live octopus. Bon Apetit! ...more info
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone. The thing about Oldboy is that it leaves you thinking long after the credits. The next night after seeing it, I ended up dreaming I was trapped in a hotel room, with my hair growing out of control, with the exception being that there was no TV. It certainly makes you think how you would cope in that situation - the only situation similar to that would be prison. But at least in prison you get some luxuries.
The story is based around Oh Dae-Su, who is taken from the streets after a drunken night out, and held prisoner in a hotel-style room, with no way out and nothing but the TV for company. He keeps up with the events of the world through this, and also learns of his wife's death and his young daughter's subsequent adoption. When his hair needs cut, or his room needs cleaned, he's gassed. After 15 years he's released, to a whole new world, and a wallet full of a cash, and a mobile phone.
What happens after that is an absolute whirlwind of emotions and imagery. I won't spoil any of the film for you, but be prepared to concentrate. Unfortunately, the film does lose its momentum part way through, and then it all comes together at the end.
When you think you know exactly what is happening in this film, it takes a sudden twist, and you're left thinking again, and puzzling over it, trying to work out what's happening, and where it's going before it gets there. The film comes to an absolute through-provoking climax, where I was still left wondering what on earth was going on, and it will take a few minutes to work it out. But I did go home babbling about it to my dad (who'd already seen the film) which is normally a good sign.
I didn't really like Sympathy For Mr Vengence, but Oldboy has more than made up for that. It's a thought provoking and intriguing movie and yes, gives you a reason to watch it again....more info
Truly a masterpiece Having seen all of Park Chan-Wook's Revenge Trilogy, I can honestly say that Oldboy is the best of the three. I was luke-warm towards Mr. Vengeance, but I loved Lady Vengeance. It seemed to take what was done in Mr. Vengeance and add so much more depth of plot and image to it. But Oldboy stands alone. It is a masterpiece.
Why? First, you will rarely experience a movie so violent, and yet so full of true beauty. The shots in this film are just phenomenal. The movement, and the framing of each character, the motifs that recur and deal an emotional sting whenever they arrive, the graceful ballet of Oh Dae-su's battles, it is all magnificent. Forget Tarantino; this film reaches to the heights of Welles, Fellini, Coppola, etc. I am not kidding in the least. It is that good.
This film is worth anything you pay for it, but the boxset is remarkable. There are excellent documentaries taking you through the process of filming, as well as the first volume of the Oldboy comic (similar to Sin City's special edition...and this box won't fall apart on you).
Lady Vengeance was a brilliant follow-up to Oldboy, but I can only hope Park Chan-Wook is able to again reach the cinematic brilliance - the interplay between the cinematography, the movement of the camera, the absolutely superb acting and imagery, the saliency of the colors, etc. - that is Oldboy. Buy this film....more info
wild!!!! This movie was not what I expected. It kept you guessing til the end. It wasn't my cup of tea but if you like gore you'll enjoy it....more info
"I have commmited an unforgivable sin..." You know how effective a film is if after it's over and you're in bed trying to go to sleep, that the film in question refuses to leave your mind for a second and you cannot stop thinking about it. "Oldboy" is such a film, and to deny the fact that it captures raw and brutal emotion within it would be a disservice. Whether you love the movie or despise it, you cannot argue with the fact that it will at some point hit a nerve.
"Oldboy" tells the tale of Oh Dae-su, who at first sight is just a drunken babbling mess who gives no one any ounce of respect, not even the cops who have arrested him for his drunken and disorderly conduct. He sings, calls them hideous swear words and sees no wrongdoing on his part. After he leaves the station, he is abducted by unknown captors. He is imprisoned in a strange and isolated room... for 15 years. For those 15 years, he nearly loses his mind and wonders what misdeeds of his past has brought him to this horror. After 15 years, he is released without any explanation or answers. Oh Dae-su vows that he will find the truth and get revenge on anyone responsible for his imprisonment. In fact, the whole point is that the captor is planning on Oh finding out the truth, as that is the whole point of his game. Blood will be shed and devastating revelations will make their presence felt.
"Oldboy" is a film unlike any I have ever seen. Rarely have I ever seen a movie so dark, brutal and unrelenting--and yet be so beautiful at the same time. You really do feel emotionally invested. This is not a simple shoot-em-up revenge thriller. It is something beyond that. It poses questions and investigates the darker side of being human. Not once did I feel myself losing interest. The movie is superbly directed and acted. There is a phenomenal fight scene where it's done in one complete shot, and without it being loud or flashy. I also have to add that this film has one of the best and most haunting music scores since "Requiem for a Dream."
Be warned, this isn't for everybody. It is a dark movie and it does not let you off easy. While it's not non-stop action and the movie focuses more on story and character, the violent scenes are really brutal. You can watch it with an English dubbed track, but I encourage you to watch it with subtitles and see it in its original language. Nowadays the English dubs do not do the films justice, as they change words and phrases around to make it seem more in sync with lip movement from the actors. The Blu-Ray version of the film includes 2 disks. There are some nice behind-the-scenes featurettes.
"Oldboy" is a film that will leave its mark on you, no matter what your final judgment on the movie may be. It takes "revenge" to a whole new and unexpected level and you'll have no idea where it's all leading to until the very end. It's not for everybody, but if you're looking for something that's dark, intense, challenging and beautiful, give it a try. You'll never look at revenge thrillers in the same way ever again. Most likely, no other revenge thrillers will ever come close. - Michael Crane...more info
Brilliant master work from Park Chan-Wook Based on Garon Tsuchiya's manga, Oldboy is about Oh Dae-su, an ordinary salaryman type, who is held at a police station for being drunk. Afterwards, he is kidnapped, locked up in a hotel-like room without windows, gassed repeatedly so the room is cleaned and so he can get a haircut and clean clothes, and kept there for 15 years. "If they had told me then that it would be fifteen years, would it have been easier to endure....or harder?" His only contact to the outside world is the TV. "It's both a clock and a calendar. It's your school, your home, your church, your friend... and your lover
It's after being let out and into "life in a bigger prison" that Oh Dae-su's quest really begins. Who imprisoned him and why? He is given a cell-phone and a wallet full of money by a scraggly bum, then goes to a sushi restaurant where he meets Mido, a beautiful young woman who takes pity on him and takes him back to her place when he collapses. It also appears he has been hypnotized during his imprisonment--but why? His nemesis, a man later identified as Lee Woo-Jin, is quite the mastermind. When they first confront each other, Lee gives him five days to find out the truth, or he will kill Mido. If Oh Dae-su wins, Lee promises to kill himself.
Through clues of finding out which Chinese restaurant provided him with the same potstickers he ate for 15 years, he finds Mr. Park, the owner of the hotel where he was imprisoned. It is here that two memorable scenes occur, one a tooth torture scene where he extracts Mr. Park's teeth out with a hammer, all set to Vivaldi's "Winter" section of the Four Seasons. Using such music in such a scene adds a bit of humor in it. He then takes on a handful of Park's thugs armed only with a hammer, his fists, and keeps on fighting even though a knife is plunged into his back. The sardonic smile on his face when he encounters an elevator full of thugs is priceless. Guess what happens to them?
The theme of revenge and Lee Woo-jin's attitude, "Whether it is a grain of sand or a rock, in water they both sink alike" implies that no sin is too small for revenge. He later tells Oh Dae-su, "Seeking revenge is the best cure for someone who has been hurt. Try it. ... Once again, revenge is good for your health." But to quote Hamlet, aye, there's the rub. "But what happens after you've had your revenge? I bet that hidden pain probably emerges again." The whole point is that this isn't about Oh Dae-Su's revenge on Lee Woo-Jin, but vice-versa. As someone who holds grudges easily, I can easily relate to what Lee says.
Oh Dae-Su's introspection in seeing who it was he had offended reveals that every life is far from perfect. "Study your whole lifetime," he is told by Lee. But he also realizes that his imprisonment has changed him, as he figures Mido wouldn't like him the way he was before imprisonment. But there is hope for redemption, as seen in the scene with snow, symbolizing a clean new start.
This was actually the second film I'd seen with Choi Min-sik, the first being Shiri, but so far, this is his master performance, a creditable and credible performance as Oh Dae-Su. He later appears as the villainous Mr. Baek in Lady Vengeance. Yu Ji-Tae scores well as the devilish but weak Lee Woo-Jin, and has a cameo in LV. Ditto for Kang Hye-jeong as the cute-as-a-button Mido. She is a TV reporter in LV. And Oh Dal-Su (Mr. Park) plays the bakery owner Mr. Chang in LV.
The movie's score is another triumph. Whether it is the upbeat techno beat of the opening shot of Oh Dae-su grabbing onto the suicidal man's tie, the haunting quiet ambience during Oh's fight with Han in Lee Wu-Jin's penthouse, the Godfather-like waltz that is Lee Woo-Jin's theme, and Mido's sad theme with clarinet and strings, the music team scored a big triumph.
This is hailed as the best in Park Chan-Wook's trilogy in story-telling, film-making, acting, and techniques. One of the best films I've seen in awhile.
Oldboy - Oh Boy Ok wow. This film is messed up. It totally left me speechless. Oh Dae-su, a Korean family man is forcefully imprisoned for 15 years with no explanation. Upon his release he sets out to revenge his captors and understand why it all happened. What ensues is a hardcore psychological thriller with plot twists, cool fight scenes, a superb narrative style, and sweet cinematography. This film went gangbusters on the festival circuit pulling down some prestigious awards, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's mainstream. Bring this film to any conservative mother and you will see one of two things: a forceful backlash or a permanent nervous twitch from trauma. The film is stunning, but I recommend it only to people with their mind wide open....more info
This Movie Is A Brilliant Violent Action/Love Story With Quite An Edge That Should Not Be Missed Oldboy is one of my favorite films.
Let me get that out of the way to show my bias. I love Oldboy. I think it's brilliant, I think the story is fantastic, I think the cinematography is phenomenal, and the acting is amazing. I can go on, but alas, I've run out of adjectives.
This movie keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to get just a piece of the puzzle throughout the movie until the shocking (and it is extremely shocking) ending. You will find the grand reveal disturbing. There is no way around that. Once you get past the initial shock though, you will find yourself asking new questions about true love. The action is great but, contrary to what some reviews you may read have said, shockingly restrained (at least in comparison to other Asian films along the same genres (J-Horror for example)). Most of the most brutal parts are psychological or implied (the root canal scene comes to mind). As for the controversial octopus scene, eating an octopus while still alive isn't completely unheard of in Japan. It's just a cultural difference really. If it's any consolation, Min-sik Choi (who plays the main character) is a devout Buddhist who said a prayer for the octopi before every take. If you enjoy action or appreciate cinematography, this film is a must buy simply based upon the hallway fight scene.
All in all, whether you like Asian cinema or not, if you have a desire for a dark dramatic action movie and possess a strong stomach, you need to see Oldboy. You will be happy you did.