Saturday, 31 August 2013

Oldboy (2003) - ★★★★★

Director: Park Chan-Wook
Writers: Lim Chun-hyeong, Park Chan-Wook, Hwang Jo-yun
Stars: Choi Min-sik, Yu Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Ji Da-han

"Woah. Wow. What the f#ck?" 

That was my initial reaction to Oldboy. I loved this movie. LOVED IT! It's one of the craziest, mind bending movies I've ever seen. It also happens to be funny, charming, exciting, thrilling, and filled with cringe-inducing moments. I adored everything about this film. From the chillingly beautiful score to the stunning cinematography, I just found Oldboy to be a masterpiece from head to toe. The performances are just remarkable, as is the story. The twists and turns made my jaw hit the floor in shock, and they just kept coming! If there's one word to describe this film, it's "engrossing." I couldn't take my eyes away from the screen. To me, Oldboy will always stand up there with the very best movies cinema has to offer.

Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-Sik), is kidnapped and imprisoned in a room for 15 years. When he is released, he must find out WHY he was imprisoned, or else the culprit behind the kidnapping will kill every woman he cares about. This includes Mido (Kang Hye-jeong), a strange woman that is helping him on his quest to find the answer and take revenge.  It's an incredible, winding tale filled with death, love, and spectacular twists concerning both the past and present.

Choi Min-Sik gave a performance that can only be described as: perfect.
Action movies aren't my forte. I'm much more of an "English Patient," man, as opposed to films like "The Dark Knight." So coming into Oldboy, I didn't expect to like it. However, Oldboy isn't like anything I've ever seen before. It has its exciting moments of action and violence, but also beautiful moments of love, poetic dialogue, and powerful cinematography. It's a much more intelligent mystery/action/thriller than 90% of those produced in Hollywood. It throws conventional formulas and techniques out of the window, and creates a much more engrossing world of vengeance and twists.

Oh, and those twists... The major twist in this film would have to be up there with the greatest in cinematic history. It joins the ranks of The Sixth Sense, Memento, Psycho, The Others... you get the drift. It is just beyond words. It's not just the twists that get me so pumped about this film, but rather the way it builds up to the twists! The way the story unveiled was pure genius. We start off with the who, what, when and where, but not the why. So the first half is a game of vengeance between Oh Dae-su and his captor, whilst the second sequence is the thrilling and mind-blowing mystery of the why. 


Kang Hye-jeong gave a stunning performance as Mido.
One of my all time favourite scenes in movie history comes from this film. Believe it or not, it's the 'Lonely ant' sequence on the train. In one scene, they clearly developed the character of Mido, through the usage of amusing, beautiful, and powerful symbolism. Surprisingly, my second favourite part was when Oh Dae-su fought with a huge group of gangsters in the hallway with only a hammer. It's one of the most entertaining and thrilling action sequences I've ever seen. If there's one scene that I wish I could 'un-see,' it would have to be the octopus scene... I don't believe in cruelty for the sake of art.

Apparently they've made a remake of Oldboy in Hollywood, and I don't even care. I'm just so happy with the perfection that is the original by Park Chan-Wook. I can't praise this film enough... there are so many scenes that I just can't stop thinking about! Like I said, films such as this aren't usually my cup of tea... but then again, there's nothing quite like this film. I will happily call it one of the greatest movies of all time.



2 comments:

  1. I recently saw this and love when you said "We start off with the who, what, when and where, but not the why. So the first half is a game of vengeance between Oh Dae-su and his captor, whilst the second sequence is the thrilling and mind-blowing mystery of the why."

    That describes perfectly why this movie is so enthralling whether you love or don't love the graphicness of the shots. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete