OldboyDirector: Park Chan-wook
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.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Tartan Video
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Cast & Crew
|Choi Min-Sik||Oh Dae-Su|
|Yu Ji-tae||Lee Woo-Jin|
|Shim Hyeon-jeong||Score Composer|
|Kim Jang-wook||Executive Producer|
|Lee Ji-su||Score Composer|
|Nokuaki Minegishi||Original Story|
|Jo San-gyeong||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Lee Sang-wook||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Lee Seong-cheol||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Yu Seong-heui||Production Designer|
|Choi Sung-hyeon||Score Composer|
|Garon Tsuchiya||Original Story|
|Jo Yeong-wook||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Ji Young-Joon||Associate Producer|
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After hearing everyone talk about Oldboy in my East Asian Cinema class, I decided take the plunge and see it at the Nuart. I didn’ t know what to expect, which is probably a blessing expectations can go a long way towards ruining a film. Dae-su, the protagonist, starts out as a useless drunk. Then, seemingly for no reason, he is held in a room for fifteen long years, left with only a television to entertain him. His meals come from a slot under his door, and every once and while he’ s knocked out with sleeping gas. When he wakes up, his hair has been cut and he’ s been given a shave. Through his TV, he learns that he is being charged with the murder of his wife. Someone clearly has revenge on his mind, but who? And for what purpose? Since the plot hinges on a central revelation, I won't say anything else about it. Instead, I'll talk about some standout scenes. In a cinematic moment that has become infamous already, Dae-su (who looks just beastly with hair teased within an inch of it's life) walks into a sushi bar after being released and asks to eat something "alive." He chomps into a live octopus, but before he can finish, he faints, one tentacle still squirming. On a visceral level, I was repulsed. But then I remembered that this guy just missed out on more than a decade of living and just wanted to feel vital again. In some strange way, my heart went out to him. Eventually, Dae-su figures out where he was incarcerated. So great is his fury that he storms in without any forethought, armed only with a small hammer that he picks up along the way. In a long shot of a hallway, he does battle with his former jailers, displaying an emotion I can only categorize as “ primal rage." Even a knife in his back can’ t do much more than slow him down. What made the scene captivating was the fact that violence was used to highlight an emotion, rather than for mere shock value. If you have a strong stomach and a taste for black humor, you'd do well to see this movie.
Lots has 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 decent. There’s no reason to bash this film because it does deserve to be rated moderately. When rating a film I ask myself what is the film giving the audience and what is the message that the director is pushing across. In this film the message is not much smarter than your average horror flick, and the only feeling you have after seeing it is disgust. That's not really a bad thing, if it has direction. In films like ‘Seven’ there is and it can be summed up really easy in the last sentences from Morgan Freeman. "The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. I agree with the last part." Because ‘Oldboy’ lacks a message like this the whole film becomes an empty vessel. That being say, it might be one of the best empty vessels created. 'Oldboy' has a very intriguing premise: A man has been locked up for 15 years in a private prison by unknown people. No reason has been given for this punishment. After he is finally released, he tries to find out who imprisoned him and what their motives are. The first part of the movie is very good. The plot is a little bizarre but you simply want to know what is going on. Once the puzzle start coming together, things are falling apart. The movie may still work for some as a morality tale, but those who desire at least a little bit of realism (and the first half of the movie certainly encourages this expectation) will be sorely disappointed. This is certainly not the first movie that uses hypnotism as a cheap and highly unrealistic plot device for mind control, but in the 21st century one should expect the authors to know better. I will say the photography is stunning, the editing is clever and the acting is at most parts really good. The story is smart, but becomes a little to smart at times. It's trying too much to live up to films like Memento, ‘Seven’ or even ‘The Sixth Sense’ where everything is revealed in the end. First of all I wasn't that surprised, but the worst part was that I really didn't care. With a better resolution of the plot and a slightly less playful style this could have been a winner. I will say though ‘OldBoy’ didn't bore me a single second and it is worth viewing.
Like my title stated I feel this movie is absolutely remarkable. This movie truly can only be endured and appreciated by people who love film and theatre, so if this is not you most likely you will not like this movie. Things you must consider before watching this movie: 1. This is not for the faint of heart and can be very gruesome and grotesque throughout the whole entire movie. 2. This movie is like a work of art....It has many underlying themes and meanings to be interpreted by the viewer. To many people get caught up in the literal story line and plot. 3. The ending will leaving you hanging and the purpose is to entice and continue the internal dialogue created by the movie. 4. You must watch this movie at least 3 times to get it... Not the plot or whatever but to actually get it... Must I say anymore!!! If you are still reading this review than you definitely should watch this movie!!!!