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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2.5 Highly overrated in my opinion. Thick with melodrama and ridiculous plot elements the dialogue is clunky and acting and direction weak. I assume people are impressed by a few gory scenes and strained plot twists but I wasn't. The characterisation is awful and it really is like a bad Hollywood film at its core. Aside from some awful green screen action there is some decent camera work and the art dept did well.
It takes day to digest, and improves like a Tarkovsky with the more moments you think about it. Park Chan Wook constructs a film which is structurally brilliant, visually outstanding, even while it deals with ugly subjects and presents tough scenes.
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)
Essential cinema. One can't be helped but be dazzled by the story efficiency and originality on display in this best to date film from Park Chan-wook. Full of now iconic sequences that shine as much on repeat viewings as they did in '04. Performances are note perfect especially Min-sik Choi as Dae-su and Ji-tae Yu as the terrible Woo-jin Lee. 'Do you want revenge or do you want the truth?'
Not really my kinda thing, I just watched it too see what it was. Not bad if you like incomprehensible violence and torture. Personally, I prefer an interesting drama with no blood/torture. Fighting spectacles where one guy beats up 20 attackers also bores me. But I get that some people may think that its cool. Definitely a matter of taste; I understand why some people gave this 5 stars and some gave it only one.
An intensely well-constructed revenge thriller, an overflowing gift bag of cinematic technique like manga by way of De Palma (a stated influence on the director). I'm not quite sure what it adds up to beyond a mindfuck, though its stance on guilt is plenty provocative. Mostly it's proof that the most absurd anti-logic can be gripping if given enough style—a De Palma lesson if there ever was one.