In this visually entrancing revenge thriller—the middle, and best known film in Park’s Vengeance Trilogy—Choi Min-Sik masterfully plays Oh Dae-su, an ordinary businessman who survives fifteen years of captivity in a single room only to be released and further tormented by his captor.
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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)