Review Date: March 22, 2005
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Writer: Park Chan-Wook, Lim Chun-hyeong, Hwang Jo-yun
Producers: Lim Sueng-yong
Choi Min-Sik as Dae-Su
Yu Ji-Tae as Woo-Jin Lee
Kang Hye-jeong as Mi-Do
That's another thing that I loved about this movie and that was its uncompromising approach to the material and its ability to "keep the course" despite things getting quite graphic, both visually and mentally. In other words, these guys don't let up until the very end and it's a great thing to experience, even if things do go a little overboard nearing its conclusion (felt like 2-3 endings). Another aspect of the film which connected with me greatly was its visual approach, which wasn't as stylistic as you'd think, but included plenty of cool touches, particularly one wide-frame 4-minute shot of the lead fighting against a multitude of opponents, but all without cutting away once. It's a great shot and a defining moment in the movie. Another aspect that comes through very clearly in this film is its surreal nature. Throughout this affair, things get a little "dream-like" from time to time, feeling hyper-naturalistic at times, but it works under the circumstances, especially after you yourself, experience the film's first 10-15 minutes, alone in a room with a man losing his mind. The actors are also all great, specifically Choi Min-Sik, who plays the man on the edge brilliantly, as well as Kang Hye-Jeong, who is just plain adorable. The film is not a one-trick pony either. It's not just a matter of finding out why this act has been perpetrated upon this individual, but rather, once that's done, understanding the underlying reasons for any human being to cause such pain/suffering onto another. When you sit back and look at the big picture of the world, it's a perfect metaphor for what seems to be a place in which people will take a small ripple in the water and allow it to grow bigger and bigger, until the small ripple is now of much greater meaning.
If revenge is the theme in many American movies this year, OLD BOY fits right into that master plan, only it takes that vengeful attitude to a whole new absurdly sadistic level. Wow, and you thought you had vengeful tendencies? You gotta see what the folks in this movie do. Incredible!