Old Boy

dir. Park Chan-Wook
South Korea, 2003

Ever since I saw Chan Wook-Park's Joint Security Area at MIFF in 2001, I have tried to see as many Korean movies as possible at festivals and elsewhere as they were so exciting.

Although I didn't see his movie Sympathy for Mr Vengeance at last year's MIFF, this one had a very good vibe about it and was personally recommended to me as one to look out for.

If you have heard about the movie, you would probably know it begins with a man Oh Dae-Su who ends up locked in the one room for 15 years and then gets released trying to find the person who imprisoned him.

I will not go any further into the plot as it would be doing a tremendous disservice to this movie to try explain it in some half-arsed way after I have just seen it.

Despite what they said about the octopus scene, I didn't have a problem with it. (To me PETA stands for "people eating tasty animals.") I do admit not being able to look during the home dentistry scene though - I don't like going to the dentist at the best of times.

Another stand-out sequence is the fight between Oh Dae-Su and his jailers. Armed with only a hammer he takes on over twenty people with a knife in his back. When faced with another lift-full of attackers, you see the lift open in the car park and all of them fall out.

I do want to see this movie again, even just to experience the performance of Oh Dae-Su throughout the movie. There is a level of intensity shown here that I have only seen in Kubrick's insane characters.

I will need to have a long rest before seeing it again - As well as being very physically violent, it is very emotionally violent and you will feel like you've been beaten about the head by the time it is over.


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