Oldboy (2003): Movie Review

Guest blogger Marcello Milteer from Japan Cinema writes:

Japan Cinema presents: Oldboy, which is hands down the best film from South Korea. Period. It is arguably my favorite movie of all time and I will explain why.

Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is on his way home from a drunken rage after his best friend bails him out of jail. It’s his daughters birthday and he wants to get home to give her a present, but before he can make it someone mysteriously kidnaps him and they vanish without a single trace. He awakes in some sort of strange apartment. It’s not a prison, which is odd, because it means some private individual has created this carpeted one-room hell-hole, with a television and a fake view of the Dutch countryside. He’s fed every day through a little opening, and occasionally the room fills with some sort of knockout gas while his captors change the towels. After 15 years, he is finally released and he must seek revenge against his captors and find the secrets as to why he was imprisoned in the first place.

The magic of this movie and any movie is how an audience successfully attaches to, empathizes with and learns from its characters. Otherwise there really is no point in following these people for two hours, is there? What the director (Chan-Park Wook) creates, is a story so emotionally consuming and mentally fascinating any forthcoming assumptions are automatically defused as the film breaks down barriers unimaginable to even the most complicated puzzle solvers. The structure of one mans life is examined through the strength of his morality, testing his desires and evocative fantasies through the harsh realms of ultimate torture and complete isolation.

To demonstrate the brilliance of this film, there is a five-minute fight scene [featured in the above youtube video] that is filmed in a hallway.  There are no cuts or edits in this frame and it is one of the most awesome scenes I have ever seen in a film. Old Boy is a movie that makes you think and appreciate foreign cinema. It doesn’t hold back in its attempt to expose human desires, grudges, and fears. Also, I do want to note that Oldboy’s ending twist makes Fight Club’s‘ look like a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie and it makes a revenge film like Man on Fire look like Sesame Street. This is a masterpiece of a movie.  Highest Recommendation.

Japan Cinema is a movie review blog that reviews Anime, Anime TV Series, and Asian Influenced films from around the world. Features custom graphic work and updated EVERY weekday morning!