Thursday, August 18, 2011


After being arrested for being drunk and disorderly, a Seoul businessman is kidnapped and imprisoned in a hotel room. While held captive, he is framed for his wife's murder, his daughter is sent to live with foster parents, and he vows retribution on his captor as he begins to study his television and turn himself into a killing machine. After 15 years of imprisonment, he meets a young girl who helps him find the man responsible. When he finally reaches him, he tells the man he has only five days to unravel the mystery of his imprisonment before the young girl, and everyone else he's ever loved will be murdered. "Oldboy" is a stylish, violent, energetic, devastating, and very Asian film from director Chan-wook Park. Min-sik Choi does an excellent job in the brutal role of Oh Dae-su and Hye-jeong Kang is just as fine in the equally harsh part of Mi-do. The film is largely off-putting, and at first is disjointed and hard to follow. However, when the plot threads begin to come together, the film really takes off, and there are many wonderfully realized scenes (I particularly liked when Dae-su was retracing his steps both in his memory and in the present during a revelatory scene). With the Hollywood machine, we become so accustomed to seeing the same product churned out week after week so that when something highly original comes to our attention, it can be jarring and startling. "Oldboy" is a unique film that shocks with its audacity and originality, and is highly entertaining once we regain are senses and start to keep pace.