The glaring positive note on the film is the performance of Min-Sik Choi, who gives a once in a lifetime performance as the main character. With the reliance Park rested on Choiís shoulders, the film could have bombed with a lesser actor. Thankfully for all involved, Choi and the rest of the cast were fantastic. Every ounce of emotion was felt and you could see the pain, hopelessness and satisfaction in Choiís eyes.
Despite the powerful performances, the real credit goes to Chan-Wook Park, who continues to amaze American audiences with his amazing ability to tell a story. Heís a gifted director and his attention to detail is prevalent throughout the film. He uses every inch of film space by utilizing everything from the brightness of the mountains to the color of the wallpaper. His efforts translate well on film and make for a powerful film.
OLDBOY is not a run of the mill action/revenge film. Itís a powerful story that captivates the audience. Within minutes, youíre dying to know why he was captured as badly as the main character does. You have a genuine sense of urgency and youíre pulling for him to satisfy his need for revenge. Park knows this, and that knowledge and ability to manipulate the audience should keep Park around for years to come.
Commentary with Chan-Wook Park: Remember that you have to read all of the commentaries, but donít let that turn you off. This one is probably the best of the bunch because he doesnít dive into the technical aspects of the film and instead focuses on the symbolism and meaning behind the film. I enjoyed this one and he mentioned a lot of things that I didnít pick up on while watching the movie.
Commentary with Chan-Wook Park and Jeong Jeong-hun: This one is the technical commentary and they focus on how they created certain shots and the difficulties surrounding various shoots. It was ok, but Iíd recommend this one to anyone that is interested in being a filmmaker.
Commentary with Chan Wook Park, Min-Sik Choi, Ji-Tae Yu and Hye-Jeong Kang: This one rounds out the trifecta for commentaries by giving you a lighthearted, fun track. The cast jokes about everything and it makes for a fun listen. You wonít learn anything from this track, but itís worth listening to.
Deleted Scenes (24:54): I wasnít a fan of any of these, especially the alternate hallway fight. None of them added or detracted from the film and presumably, most were cut for pacing issues.
Making The Film (10:55): This is the introduction into the making of the movie. Itís pretty general and covers all the basics of how the story got to be a movie. Itís worth a watch and since Iím going to recommend watching all of the featurettes, you should start with this one.
Production Design (13:10): Park put a lot of effort into this movie and itís laced with underlying themes and symbolism. This featurette covers some of those that Park mentioned in his commentary and gives some good examples of what he was trying to do.
Music Score (16:48): Not only did he direct and write the film, but he also co-wrote the score. Park takes you through the various scores used in the film and explains what he was trying to say with his music. Again, this one takes you even further into the movie and is very interesting.
CGI (7:06): There wasnít a whole lot of CGI used in the film, but what was used is covered in this featurette. Other special effects are covered too and nothing is left unexplained.
Flashback (23:35): This was a really neat featurette in which the cast and crew answer questions from their fan site. Very cool indeed. They tell a lot of great stories and answer some pretty good questions.
Cast and Crew Interviews (41:13): I think these would have been better within the other featurettes, but itís nice that they were included. Everyone is covered here, but by this point, thereís not a whole lot to say that we havenít heard before.
Le Grand Prix at Cannes (8:49): This is the cast and crew at Cannes, where the film won the top prize, deservingly so. Itís a quick featurette, but the point is that it won, which we didnít need 8 minutes to tell us.
There are also some Previews