Imprisoned by a mysterious, sadistic captor for 15 years, Oh Dae-su survives only because of his will to get even with the villain who has made his life a living hell. But when he’s suddenly released without explanation, he finds himself further plunged into a Kafkaesque conspiracy.
One of the most popular international hits of the 2000s, this extreme hyper-surreal revenge saga won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004. Amplifying South Korean master Park Chan-wook’s global prominence, Oldboy spasms with energy that has blown minds the world over.
More than any single Korean film as yet released stateside, Park Chanwook’s Oldboy crystallizes the reigning characteristic of its national new wave: narratives driven by unbound emotionalism, and often driven like kamikaze stock cars.
A remarkable film and a rarity in that the intriguing premise is matched by a ferociously potent climax. This is not a picture that tails away, but rather one that crescendos to a tremendous roar. Distinctive and brilliant filmmaking.
The hammer fight in the hallway is worth 5 stars alone. If you take that out of the film, it's still 5 stars. What you see is visually hypnotizing. The story is a strange mystery that keeps unraveling. The characters are curiosities you demand to know more about.
After watching this masterpiece for the second time, I appreciated all the subtile and macabre touches even more. Dangling its audience over a precipice from its rooftop opener to its uniquely twisted ending – via evil hypnotists, live cuisine and family affairs – the exhilaratingly out-there Oldboy can count itself amongst the best films of this millennium (but equally makes me worried to see Spike Lee's remake)