Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

4.0 6
Director: Park Chan-wook

Cast: Park Chan-wook, Shin Ha-kyun, Lim Ji-Eun, Bae Du-na

     
 

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Korean director Park Chan-wook followed up his highly acclaimed Joint Security Area with this tale of a deaf mute named Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) trying to help his sister (Lim Ji-Eun) get a kidney transplant. Because his blood type is incompatible and no donors are available, he turns to a group of black-market organ dealers who offer to find one in return for one of

Overview

Korean director Park Chan-wook followed up his highly acclaimed Joint Security Area with this tale of a deaf mute named Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) trying to help his sister (Lim Ji-Eun) get a kidney transplant. Because his blood type is incompatible and no donors are available, he turns to a group of black-market organ dealers who offer to find one in return for one of his and ten million won. The dealers rip him off, so Ryu conspires with his girlfriend, a political activist, to kidnap his former boss' young daughter and ransom her for the ten million won. But a horrible complication ruins their plans and things begin to spiral out of control as the girl's father (Song Kang-ho) decides to take matters into his own hands with the help of a sympathetic cop. ~ Tom Vick

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Park Chan-wook's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance has a tone that will not be unfamiliar to followers of the New Korean Cinema. It has much in common with the independent films of Kim Ki-duk, sharing with Kim's films Bad Guy and The Isle a deeply melancholy tone, chillingly distanced depictions of violence and cruelty, and a mute central character. Park, working within the studio system (his previous film, Joint Security Area, was a huge box-office hit), works on a much broader canvas. If Kim is concerned with the intimate cruelties two people can inflict on one another, Park is more interested in how desperation and revenge can spread like an infection through any number of people. The title may imply that vengeance is personified in only one character, but, in fact, nearly all the main characters are animated by it, which inevitably leads to their various downfalls. Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun), the deaf mute protagonist, seeks revenge on the black market organ donors who cheated him. Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho), takes revenge on Ryu's girlfriend, Yeong-mi (Bae Du-na), for kidnapping his daughter, and, in the film's irony-soaked conclusion, Yeong-mi is avenged as well. In many ways, this is a standard "kidnapping gone wrong" movie, but Park is less interested in plot than mood. He keeps the pace slow, and develops a couple of extended set pieces that rival the ear removal scene in Reservoir Dogs for excruciating ugliness. Dong-jin takes a break from torturing Yeong-mi to calmly eat some takeout food she had ordered before his arrival, barely noting the puddle of her urine that seeps under the tray; Ryu interrupts the organ dealers in the midst of abusing an anesthetized victim to carry out an equally drawn out and vicious attack on them. The effect of Park's pacing is to make the film both difficult to watch and impossible to forget. Some shots are indelible for their beauty and horror, such as one in which a character carries the bleeding body of another through the shallows of a river, leaving two vaporous trails of blood in the water. Park uses these unsettling details to show how easily ordinary people, out of desperation, can turn into monsters. It's a perfectly pessimistic moral for such a disturbingly riveting film.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/22/2014
UPC:
0842498000205
Original Release:
2002
Source:
Palisades Tartan
Region Code:
A
Time:
2:09:00
Sales rank:
55,296

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Audio commentary with director Park Chan-Woo and actor/filmmaker Ryoo Seong-wan; The process of Mr. Vengeance; My Boksu story; Crew interviews; Jonathan Ross on Park Chan-wook; Soundtrack & photos; Storyboards; Original behind the scenes feature; Trailer

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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Asians excel at horror because, not having to pander to Hollywood's rules, they can take you anywhere at all. For all this filmed was billed as a gory horror, violence was minimal, and certainly not gratuitous, but man......it was good when it happened! The film revolves around the lives of a deaf-mute and his sister who requires a kidney transplant. A kidnap attempt to raise money goes tragically wrong, and much blood-letting ensues. The ending makes me wince to this day. My only quandary with Park is that he holds certain scenes too long. He needs more discipline in the editing room. Green hair playing with the little girl for ten minutes or burying a body for another ten minutes while a very annoying device character and a mentally challenge kid of some sort wanders about causing mayhem, I started to look at my watch. It all comes together in a blood bath of revenge. The performances all around were decent. I liked Du-Na-Bae and felt she was lively and interesting Ha-kyun Shin also did well considering he had no lines to speak of. However Song was a mystery to me, he only had one moment (the one that I have already mentioned) where I felt he did something worthy of note, the rest of the time his was a non-performance. Aside from him, I think everyone was OK but that the material and the delivery just wasn't there to support them. “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” is a very interesting take on Korean revenge mythology and modern society. But what that take is I'm not sure. This one is necessary for film aficionados, just for the camera set-ups and stunning color. I also think that this film delivers an important message. To exact vengeance on someone because you are hurting only makes more people hurt, and it doesn't stop yours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Koreans, in particular, of Far East cinema make real down movies when they are horror flicks. Believe me, they are horror flicks, much better than our brand--probably because of all the bad wars that have accumulated their culture over time. Rich in mythology and not violence, although it is gory where it is, Sympathy is a vengeance film and provides the viewer with the Asiatic view or I should say, the Korean view of revenge. They hit back silently and quickly without thought like spiders. Hence the silent river and deaf girl. The anger here can be felt with riveting performances by all involved.
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