Oldboy (R) - 2003 - Runtime: 120 minutes
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Director: Chan-wook Park
Holy cow this film is awesome! It was simply, breathtaking and jaw-dropping! And any other cliche! Seriously, I had heard nothing but good things about this movie and of course, so many people had recommended it to me that I was more than hesitant to pick it up. But the hype I heard was well deserved. This movie is simply astonishing and packs a whollop. It's both visually arresting and emotionally draining, if a movie can be that.
Dae-su Oh is a simple business man, who after a night out drinking, finds himself kidnapped and put in a room where he is constantly alone. After fifteen years of this cruel imprisonment, he's released out onto the city streets and eventually has to track down his captor and find out exactly why he was imprisoned. Although the mystery seems simple and you just want to find out what the hell happened, the movie is much more complex than that as it starts to delve into each character's past. I won't reveal too much, but the ending has such a resonance and it sucker punched me, because I wasn't expecting it. The movie deals with a lot of violence and this sets up some very cool action sequences, specifically the Double Dragon-esque (non-video game nerds can ignore the reference) one-shot take of Dae-su battling a seemingly infinite gang of thugs. It's so well done and the choreography is perfect. But not only the action and violence are great - there is meaning behind those scenes. And that's what I love about this movie - there's so many layers involved within the characters and stories and what revenge looks like.
I loved this movie and would not hesitate to watch it over and over again. It's that good! Apparently this is the second movie of a trilogy based on some graphic novels. I desperately want to watch the other two - because this is one of the best foreign movies, let alone action movies I've seen!
Rating: Own It!