Oldboy

Oldboy starts as a mysterious man with messy hair is holding another man over the edge of a building by his tie. He wants to tell this man his story, and, thus, we flash back 15 years. Oh Dae-su (Min-sik Choi), a normal Korean businessman, is kidnapped and kept imprisoned in a bedroom. He has nothing to keep him entertained in the room except for a television. Here he learns that his wife was murdered and that Oh Dae-su himself, who had gone missing, was to blame for it. He teaches himself to fight over the years of captivity, as well as keeps time by tattooing himself. Then, after 15 years, he's released with a new suit and a cell phone. After telling the poor man on the roof all of this, he moves on. He meets the young and beautiful sushi chef Mi-do (Hye-jeong Kang), and they quickly fall in love. Oh Dae-su is then told by mysterious Woo-jin (Ji-tae Yu) that he has 5 days to find out why he had been captured in the first place or Mi-do will be killed.

     This movie, quite frankly, is phenomenal. It's one of my favorite foreign films. The story and concept is awesome, and it's executed well. There really isn't a time where anything drags. You wonder at first how these two characters could have fallen in love so quickly, but everything is perfectly explained and not left to be questioned (with one big exception, which I'll get to in a minute) by the end of the movie.

     There are some great shots in the movie, such as the huge 5 minute or so hallway brawl that is one continuous shot (it took about 17 takes and 3 days to get it right). They really went all out in the movie. There's a scene where Oh Dae-su has to eat a live octopus. Do they CGI it? Nope. They actually made the actor eat a real live octopus. That's hardcore.

     The ending of the movie is great, as the plot twist is literally one of the most twisted I've ever seen. It's intricate and detailed. Woo-jin is really not a guy I'd want to cross. However, the one thing I do somewhat dislike about the movie (though it's growing on me) is the ‘epilogue' of the movie. It's weird when movies have epilogues, especially when you can tell it has that epilogue feel to it (not important to the plot, but tacked on to give some more closure). The snow setting with the hypnotist is bizarre and almost doesn't seem as if it fits with the rest of the movie, but I can see why it's there and why it needed to be done. However, even though it's there, everything is left incredibly ambiguous, so you still don't know if it was real or not. Nevertheless, I love the part at the very end, when the movie is closing. It was a perfect way to end it, and it wouldn't have been able to end it that way had they stopped right before the epilogue. So, in that sense, I'm happy it was there. Still, the scene isn't even 5 minutes long in this 2 hour movie, so it doesn't ruin anything for me.

     So yeah, cool action, great shots, amazing story and concept (albeit twisted), and really fun and pumped music that really fit the scenes. Everything was great all around. I'd recommend this movie to just about anybody that doesn't mind subtitles (as long as they aren't close-minded and easily turned-off by certain things). I'm sure you've already guessed this rating.

Reviewed by: Nick
7 Comment(s)
Shea said...
Definitely a twisted but indeed some awesome action+shots.

Adam watched this after being Mongolian food poisoning. His couch sleeping position will never leave my immediate mind.
Andy said...
Note to self: Do not feed Adams Mongolian Food.... Old Boy was incredible.
Adam said...
hahaha - I thought this was the movie that I passed out during, damn MSG overload!

Yeah, what I saw of this was amazing - I regret I didn't get to finish it.

I haven't eaten at the Mongolian Grill since...
Nick said...
Adam: You didn't finish it? Oh, you REALLY need to. The twist ending (if Shea didn't tell you already) will really screw with your head.
* (asterisk) (http://blogaboutnowt.blogspot.com) said...
Great movie, low to mid-70s for me, though I'm looking forward to another viewing. Unfortunately Sympathy for Mr Vengeance was nowhere near as good, and I've yet to see the third film in the trilogy, Lady Vengeance.

People who can't deal with subtitles should not even be taken into consideration anyway.
Shea said...
People hating on subtitles is one of my biggest petpeeves...
Nick said...
asterisk: I agree with the Mr. Vengeance comment. I really didn't like it at all. I also haven't seen Lady Vengeance, but I've heard it's pretty bad, too.