Movie Review – Oldboy

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Movie Review – Oldboy

Category : Movie Review

Director: Chan-wook Park
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Hye-jeong Kang, Ji-tae Yu
Year: 2003

I first heard about Oldboy as a remake.  The film is coming out in a month, starring Josh Brolin & Elizabeth Olsen, and looks pretty awesome.  I marked it as one I would definitely see in the theatre, but I just assumed I’d never check out the original Korean version of the movie made ten years earlier.  But when it randomly appeared on Netflix Instant, I thought I’d give it a try before I saw the American version, even if it gave away the plot.  Well, thank you Netflix.  Not only was it cool to see the story done in its original language & country, but it was actually one of the better movies I’ve seen in quite some time.  I think in the future I’ll be quicker to give foreign films a chance, especially ones that Hollywood knows are good enough to rip off.
The main character of the movie is Oh Dae-su.  He is an unexceptional man, has a wife, a daughter, no big deal.  But for some unfathomable reason, he is kidnapped, kept in a room with only a TV for company, and left to rot for fifteen years.  He is fed the same food every day, patched up when he tries to kill himself, and generally taken care of in a horribly grotesque way.  And then suddenly he is set free.  He doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know the reason he was imprisoned, and he has only one thing on his mind; revenge.  Dae-su begins to unravel the mystery of his torture with the help of a beautiful stranger, the kind Mi-Do.  The two embark on a very odd journey, one that will lead to truths better left unknown.
I was stunned watching this movie.  I just had no idea it would be this good.  The story was just so interesting, so quick, so tricky, and yet not cheap & overworked.  As an audience member, I was forced to think for myself, which I love, and I appreciate when a director takes the time to not explain all the details and every decision, allowing me to work through the problems with the actors as my guides.  And the acting was excellent.  Most of the dialogue came from the three main actors, with a little narration that was actually nice, not overbearing.  The movie was funny, disgusting, beautiful, shocking, a complete surprise and a film that was well executed from start to finish.  I can’t wait to see the remake if it is anywhere near as excellent as the first Oldboy.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰