Friday, 7 March 2008

Old Boy (2003)

Korean title: 올드보이 (Ol-deu-bo-i)

What’s popping:

Now I know why my movie buff friends have been singing praises about this Park Chan-wook-directed flick. It’s good, and if you haven’t seen it, it does live up to all the hype surrounding it.

I was riveted while watching it and like the protagonist, wanted to know what on earth is going on!

In this thoroughly engaging flick, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik, 최민식) relates the utterly bizarre experience he went through – abducted and imprisoned for 15 years and then upon his release, given 5 days to find the reason why.

The man simmering with vengeance meets Mido (Kang Hye-jeong, 강혜정), a young lady who works as a chef at a Japanese restaurant, and they are greatly attracted to one another.

Hair dry: 'You know, you gotta do it this way to get all the tangles out'

Things get more interesting when Dae-su comes face-to-face with the antagonist, Lee Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae, 유지태), who continues to happily taunt Dae-su as he searches for the truth.

The truth? It’s revealed all its twisted unadulterated glory, and makes you realise the extent of Woo-jin’s Machiavellian machinations.

Gumby: Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae) shows us how bendy he is.
Those yoga classes work wonders, huh?

I’ve seen Choi Min-sik in Springtime (2004), but totally zonked out mid-flick. However, the actor is excellent here as the tortured Dae-su. Apart from that, hunky Yu Ji-tae - who starred in 2006's Running Wild (I zonked out on this too!) - makes the loco bad boy sexy.

Oh, the material here isn’t appropriate for the younger crowd. Just in case you didn’t know and plan to watch it with the entire family :-P.

The plot:

Husband and father Oh Dae-su is abducted and placed in a private makeshift prison. His numerous attempts to commit suicide fails and Dae-su wonders who hates him so much to torture him this way.

Friend or foe?: Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae, right) lends
Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) a shoulder to lean on

His only companion is a TV and when Dae-su receives news that his wife has been brutally murdered (and he is framed for it), he swears to take revenge on the man who has destroyed his life.

Then, 15 years later, he is released….

Watch it:

Get the DVD!
This one is for keeps.

Rooster got it for me in Beijing and brought it home when she was back for the Lunar New Year holidays. Yay!

Pics credit: HanCinema

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varms said...

I keep meaning to watch this but the revenge theme turns me off every time... *sigh*

Liz said...

hello varms, oh I think the revenge thingy is the least of your worries. It's darker than that....

kpop_rub said...

Ugh the first time I saw this movie i was sooooo disturbed! It really messed with my mind... I remember telling a friend the plot after he begged me to and even though I gave him plenty of warning beforehand, after I told him the details he said he was so disturbed that he was gonna go to bed and try to forget everything I said. LOL
Well after I accepted plot I love this movie so much! The more I watch it the more I appreciate it!

PrincelyLuna said...

this movie is not so much about 'who dunnit' as we got to know that shortly afterwards but more on the 'why' he did it. and i agree that the movie is quite disturbing and just like most of you here, it bothered my mind and i was sort of haunted by it for days! the scene with the live octupus is such a novelty! Old Boy is my second favourite from Dir. Park's Revenge Trilogy. i love Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance most out of the three.

Clammy said...

Well, more than any why or who, Parks revenge trilogy, and actually any of his revenge stories (including shorts) are about the futility of revenge and it's consequences. You will see that theme evolve if you watch the his revenge themed movies and shorts in the order they were made. He obviously refines that theme as time goes by. Much of it is an allegory to Korean societal issues. But then again, a LOT of Korean movies and are allegories or straight metaphors to Korean societal issues.

Joe said...

I borrowed this movie from my school library few days ago but I haven't watched it yet. I'm not a big fan of Korean movies in general but everyone(including a lot of westerners, who normally don't watch any Korean or Asian movies) says this one rocks.. so I feel like I gotta see it..

ladida said...

i'm still contemplating on whether or not to watch it. When u guys described the movie as "disturbing", what exactly do u mean? the movie contains extreme violence? scary/gory? psychologically disturbing? weird or unexpected ending?

Clammy said...

Ladida Sorry Ladida, we can't tell you because it would ruin the movie. you'll just have to watch it!

P.S. The asian american film festival is in your area next weekend through the weekend after that. Are you going to go?

lemonade lagoon said...

I'm a fan of Park Chan-wook since I saw "Mr. Vengeance" and I liked how his films (esp. Old Boy) remind me Greek tragedies.

Oh and since you girls are huge Rain fans, I'm a Cyborg But That's Ok is definitely worth checking out.

It's a refreshing change from the dark mood of the vengeance trilogy. ^_^

Orchid said...

@Lemonade Lagoon. Yes we've seen "I'm A Cyborg but that's OK"

If it's in our Movie List, then we've seen it. Well, at least one of us. ;-)

I haven't seen "Old Boy" but will do so soon.

kpop_rub said...

lalida, I don't wanna give it away either but some of the imagery is disturbing but nothing compared to the plot!! SO YEAH all I can say is disturbing plot.. but if you watch it think 'im waiting to be disturbed' maybe you won't be as disturbed XD

kpop_rub said...

*ooops ladida :-p sry

jicks said...

I saw this a while ago. "Disturbing" is the best word to describe it.

Yoo Ji Tae is the hottest villain in cinematic history!!

lemonade lagoon said...

I should have known. It's a Rain movie, of course you guys have seen it. Haha! :P

noV said...

one of the best Korean movies in my collection...

ladida said...

Clammy: No, i was not aware of such an event til now. Sounds interesting. i'd luv to go but i'm pretty tied up these days (this month to be more exact). Are you planning to go? If you do, will you take me on a virtual date? J/K!! please, tell your girl to not jump on me ;->
haha..Kpop_rub, i luv this reverse psychology tactic you're using. :->
i'll check it out when i can based on the many thumbs up reviews. Plus, i rather watch smthg that seems pyschologically disturbing than a very creepy film like "The Ring". That film freaked the hell out of me. How so? I slept w/my bedrm light on for 2 consec. weeks afterward. I know that sounds embarrassing but it's the truth.

Clammy said...

ladida I was going to fly/drive up the weekend of the 22nd with some friends for the festival but those plans changed yesterday and now I won't be making it at all =(
However, if you do go on the weekend of the 15th, my friend "Big Phony" (an asian american musician) will be there I think to promote a few of the films and he may possibly perform. You should check him out of possible.

P.S. I have no girl.


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