OLD BOY (2003)



"An incredible thriller that relentlessly heaps taboos on top of images of extreme brutality, "Oldboy" is surely not for the squeamish. The film by Korean director Park Chanwook is a visually beguiling trip that keeps pulling you along and keeps you wondering what fresh hell could possibly come next. And that makes it considerably more compelling than a lot of the latest from Hollywood."
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook  violent and offbeat story of punishment and vengeance is one of my favorite films of all time.
 One day, for reasons unknown, Oh Dae-su finds himself imprisoned , with no knowledge of what his crime was or whom put him in prison . A small television is his only link to the outside world and a daily ration of fried dumplings is his only food.



His life is a daily struggle to keep his mind and body in good shape until one day when he learns through a news report that his wife has been killed. Then he decides he must escape and starts digging tunnel with a pair of chopsticks. Before he can finish and after 15 years of imprisonment  Oh Dae-su is suddenly released, again with no explanation at all . This is beginning of the  struggles to unravel the secret of who is responsible for locking him up, what happened to his wife and daughter and  the beginning of the story of vengeance  (And brace yourself  it is not going to be one you  expect , not  at all)  .

Old Boy was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize



"Oldboy is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare."



I am not an expert on the Korean cinema, which is considered in critical circles as one of the most creative in the world ("Oldboy" won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes 2004). I can say that of the Korean films I've seen, only one ("The YMCA Baseball Club") did not contain extraordinary sadomasochism. "Oldboy" contains a tooth-pulling scene that makes Laurence Olivier's Nazi dentist in "Marathon Man" look like a healer. And there is a scene during which an octopus is definitely harmed during the making of the movie.
These scenes do not play for shock value, but are part of the whole. Oh has been locked up for 15 years without once seeing another living person. For him the close presence of anyone is like a blow to all of his senses. When he says in a restaurant, "I want to eat something that is alive," we understand (a) that living seafood is indeed consumed as a delicacy in Asia, and (b) he wants to eat the life, not the food, because he has been buried in death for 15 years.

 

OLD BOY (2003)