The story makes as many leaps of logic as a typical giallo film (and the design takes cues from that genre), but the characters and emotions consistently make sense, outsize as they are. Wook succeeds in creating a world where the comic and the nightmarish constantly fight for supremacy. The famous Korean graphic torture is there, but there is a method to the madness. Riveting, but stomach churning
One of the most bombastically enthralling pieces of cinema I've watched in my life! It has a gleeful tendency to venture into these over-the-top moments that look purely ridiculous when seen out of the context of the movie, which often left me watching the sheer lunacy on screen in a state of simultaneously frozen and hysterical amusement.
The second film in Park Chan-Wook's aptly named 'Vengeance Trilogy', Oldboy is, on the surface, a story of revenge. The normal intrigue and mystery of vengeance stories is taken to new heights, as Park Chan-Wook masterfully sets up twists and turns throughout, leaving the viewer on the edge of their seat. A beautifully stylistic and gripping drama, this is the perfect start for those wishing to explore Asian cinema.
Don't expect subtlety with this one. Relies a little too heavily on shock value and the emotional power of its third act, so that re-watching it made me realize I liked it far less than I thought I did. Nonetheless there are a lot of fantastic moments, and the acting and camerawork is pretty stellar. 3.5/5
2-3. Essentially hangs a stylishly fun revenge story on a motive that renders everything happening trivial once it's revealed. The Protagonist apparently never transcends being a victim; the 'even a beast like me' sentiment is kind of gutted if he can't even be held responsible for his own 'beastliness'. That's not even getting into the way hypnosis as a plot device nukes suspension of disbelief.
Geez, I can see why people have trouble watching this a second+ time. It's a fun, gritty, bloody, graphic revenge tale that goes much deeper thematically than you might expect, and despite being two hours, it moves pretty briskly. Really intense film, and I can see why it's made such a big impact.
Few words can mirror the strange emotion i had at the end of this mesmeric film. I stood silent for a few minutes trying to come to my senses and break through the twisted ending. Though I saw the remake a few years ago, to my great surprise, during the screening i've never recall the essential fragments from the story. I was literally hypnotized by Chan-wook Park. Cult cinema.