The first film in Park’s Vengeance Trilogy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance trails a punky deaf-mute who desperately attempts to secure money for a kidney transplant his ailing sister badly needs, leading ultimately to a series of events that spiral rapidly into a bloody cycle of violence and revenge.
Oldboy wasn’t even the half of it! Park Chan-wook began his celebrated “Vengeance Trilogy” with this stylish thriller that, depending on who you ask, may be even better than its more famous cousin.
Objectively speaking, this is good cinema, but too much graphic violence and blood for me. I don't know if I can watch the rest of the trilogy. I probably shouldn't. It would be safer for me to stick to my old black and white films; they almost never have so much blood. This story could have been told without it, and quite beautifully, as evidenced by the earlier scenes, before all of the blood.
Firstly: it has one of the greatest titles in the history of cinema. Secondly: for something that is nominally genre cinema, it is designed, fussed over, and ultimately built floor-to-ceiling like a serious-as-fuck art movie. And it is serious. Though deserving, I guess, of its hallowed fanboy status, the subject of the thing (and its dramatic scale) compare easily to Sophocles and Shakespeare.
The first entry in Park Chan-wok's 'revenge' trilogy is an exceptionally well plotted tale about the aftermath of guilt and the downward spiral of revenge. There is a somewhat absurdist touch to the violence portrayed as each act begets another. Performances are quite good as is the visual panache in storytelling. Though eclipsed by the following 'Oldboy' this first entry is nearly as powerful.
Park Chan-Wook at or near his best, visually inventive, engaging and mixing well between trauma, emotion and black humour. He gets across the main message that violence leads to more violence, as he does in the entire duration of his masterpiece trilogy. This is just a master working at top capability.
This movie is both heart breaking and harrowing at the same time. The exploration of desperation and grief is sometimes hard to watch but the movie packs a powerful punch that will leave you reeling for days. This is the most grounded (and therefore the best) entry in Park's trilogy and Song and Shin is extraordinary in their performances.
This was a let down. The big problem here is the script is wildly uneven and the pacing is plodding. It's clear Park wanted to make a film of slow simmering suspense, but it just sort of plods along without much direction. Compared to the creative energy unleashed in Oldboy this is average at best. I hope Lady Vengeance doesn't fall short either.
Morally muddled and cold as ice; tricks you into caring and punches you in the gut for it. Doesn't have the slick manga style of Oldboy or the Guignol beauty of Lady Vengeance, but it is hands-down the rawest, toughest bastard around.