Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Oldboy (2003)

A brutal revenge film from Korean director Chan-wook Park, Oldboy combines mystery, tension, brutal violence, grim cover-your-eyes moments and black humour. Husband and father Dae-su Oh is kidnapped and mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years in what looks like a dirty hotel room, only to be released without warning and explanation. Framed for the murder of his wife and daughter while he was imprisoned he has no-where to go with his new-found freedom. Taken in by Sushi chef Mi-do, he finds out that he has only 5 days to understand why he was imprisoned.

Oldboy is very inventive, it takes the revenge movie and really turns in on its head; I really didn't know what was going to happen next. Chan-wook Park is constantly using the camera in different ways to keep the story fresh and interesting; angles to fool the audience into thinking one thing then revealing another, filming reflections in mirrors several times, and a wonderful single tracking shot that consists of some brutal and funny action. Min-sik Choi is great as the tortured Dae-su Oh, combining a haunted performance with a desperation for revenge, and then just plain desperation when he realises the truth. Ji-tae Yu is fine as the main antagonist Woo-jin Lee, but far more fun is the henchman Mr Han played by Byeong-ok Kim.

A fantastic revenge film that is as brutal as it is stunning. Inventive, surprising and completely unpredictable.