A drunk man is on his way home from the bar one night to see his daughter for her birthday. On the way, he is attacked and kidnapped. He wakes up in a flat that he cannot exit – but it has cable television, fake windows, a functioning bathroom, and a door with a slot that has food thrown it daily. He has no idea why he is in here or who has done it, but he swears he will find a way out and make them suffer. After some years, a news report airs that shows his wife was found dead and that he is the sole suspect. He continues to rot in this room, festering hate, delusional, and rapidly aging, until he is spontaneously released 15 years later. Given nothing but clothes and a cellphone, he wanders through the streets trying to make sense of things, and especially of his own reality. He needs to find who did this to him and make them pay.
It’s a very deep revenge movie that has a lot of violence, clever and sickening plot twists, and a villain who is revealed early on but doesn’t address his motive until the very bittersweet ending which keeps the suspense building. It’s a film with a reputation for being a psychological stir up, for including one scene of on-film animal cruelty involving the eating of a live octopus, and an ending that deeply disturbs all of its viewers.
The path we go on is fascinating and never grows stale. The violence is sporadic but has some very creative shots – including one tunnel scene that’s shot like a side-scrolling action game – and some inventive scenes of torture. And yes, the ending is just as disturbing as advertised… You really have to experience this ending for yourself.
It’s a beautiful work from Korean director Park Chan-wook that has earned a cult following for its extremely effective storyline, wonderful set design, and well choreographed action.
There is an English language remake by director Spike Lee, but you don’t want to watch that one. THIS one is the one worth all its weight in hype.
“Oldboy” is currently available on Roku, Amazon Prime, or Arrow Bluray.
‘Til Next Time,
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