Oh Dae-su is an ordinary Seoul businessman with a wife and little daughter who, after a drunken night on the town, is abducted and locked up in a strange, private "prison." No one will tell him why he?s there and who his ... more »jailer is. His fury builds to a single-minded focus of revenge. 15 years later, he is unexpectedly freed, given a new suit, a cell-phone and 5 days to discover the mysterious enemy who had him imprisoned. Seeking vengeance on all those involved, he soon finds that his enemy?s tortures are just beginning.« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 4/8/2011...
Amazing film. Brutal beyond belief and very very disturbing.
Brutally Raw & Brilliantly Inspiring Revenge Film...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 04/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oldboy has a Shakespearian tone as it depicts the tale of Oh Dae-su (Min-sik Choi), whose name means "he who can get along with people". Oh Dae-su is on his way home after having been arrested for public drunkenness to celebrate his daughters birthday. However, Oh Dae-su never arrives to his home as he is kidnapped and imprisoned in a small room where his only contact with the human world is a television. During the time Oh Dae-su is caged someone murders his wife and he becomes the prime suspect for the murder. The questions that Oh Dae-su unsuccessfully attempts to answer while locked up is why revenge is being taken on him and who is seeking this cruel revenge. After 15 years Oh Dae-su is released from his torturous imprisonment, which leaves him confused and ragingly vengeful.
Chan-wook Park directs a brilliant cinematic experience that is full of well-written conspiring intrigues that will keep the audience in suspense. The suspense is initiated in the opening shot where a man is hanging over the edge of a roof top causing the audience to asks themselves--why is this happening? The suspense continues as new and mysterious clues appears, but apprehension does not leave the audience even after the end of the film as the final line echos in the minds of the audience. Park's vision of revenge in Oldboy often depicts exaggerated violence that is well balanced with story as it is related to the themes of the film. However, this should serve as a warning to squeamish folks as the film is occasionally brutal and bizarre. Furthermore, the cinematography used in Oldboy vividly projects the emotional tone of the cinematic themes and characters. The characters are also superbly performed by an excellent cast, which will help the audience to experience a first class cinematic event."
Do I deserve life?
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 04/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
Some films just do not allow themselves to fall into generalizations and these films pose conundrums when one tries to explain them. I've owned _Old Boy_ for a number of months now, but for some reason or another I had been able to make myself sit down and watch the film. For some reason I thought it was a horror film and being that I generally do not care for horror films I let this one sit on the sidelines while I watched other films. However, I was finally inspired to watch this film when my Korean office partner told me how much she enjoyed the film, been amazed by Choi Min Sik's acting, and how long the film stuck in her head after watching it. Trusting my friend's taste in film, last night I finally settled down to watch the film and similar to my reaction with other films that I had underestimated, I wondered: Why the heck had I had not watched this film earlier?
The film begins with a drunken Oh Daesu, Choi Min Sik, sitting in the police office. He is a noisy drunk heaping abuse on the police officers and constantly trying to urinate on the floor. He tells the police to let him go because it is his daughter' birthday, but when his pleas fall on death ears, he becomes even more recalcitrant to remain calm in the police office. Eventually Daesu's friend comes to pick up his inebriated friend. However, while talking to Daesu's daughter on the phone, the friend notices that Daesu is missing.
Daesu finds himself imprisoned in a room that resembles a cheap motel room. Fed a diet of dumplings and with a television as his only companion, Daesu will live for fifteen years inside of that small room. Occupying his time watching television, punching the walls, writing the names of all who might have had him imprisoned in that room, watching television, and carving a hole in the wall with a metal chopstick, Daesu grows older his youth withered away within that room. However, one day, he finds himself on top of a building finally free to hunt the individual who had imprisoned him. Daesu eventually makes a new friend in the personage of the young sushi chef Mido, Gang Hye Jeong, who for some reason seems to fall for Daesu as he consumes a live squid, who accompanies him on his search for the individual who ruined his life.
This is an extraordinary film. Choi Min Sik's acting is top notch and one can really feel his anger and frustration inside of his prison. I won't go into details here, but his performance during the final minutes of the film must be witnessed to be believed. The music is grand and the special effects are nicely done. The ant poking through Daesu's skin is very creepy. "
I've never had more mixed feelings about a film.
Miles D. Moore | Alexandria, VA USA | 09/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The consensus of critical opinion is that Chan-wook Park's "Oldboy" is one of the true cinematic masterpieces of the past decade. In both plot and technique, it is, indeed, incredibly brilliant; on those points alone it deserves four stars out of five. I understand why "Oldboy" has so many ardent admirers (chief among them Quentin Tarantino, for whom Park could be suspected of tailoring this film). Yet, though I have a reasonably strong stomach for cinematic gore, I found "Oldboy" to be a little TOO sadistic. When you compare "Oldboy" with Tarantino's own work--"Pulp Fiction" and the "Kill Bill" movies--you realize that Tarantino's movies have a cartoonishness about them, a hip and ironic remove, that reminds audiences they're just watching a movie after all. There is no such remove in "Oldboy." I have nothing but praise for the performance of Min-sik Choi as Oh Dae-su, the heedless, obnoxious but not really so bad guy who is imprisoned, tortured and toyed with for 15 years. I have never seen such a realistic, heartrending cinematic portrayal of abject grief as Choi's at the end of this film, when Oh Dae-su discovers both his torturer's identity and the full extent of his treachery. And this is precisely my problem: the film's emotions are too real. Obviously I'm in a tiny minority about this, but I simply felt too sorry for Oh Dae-su to get the requisite thrills from this thriller. Vincent Vega and Beatrix Kiddo are, as Tarantino intended, pulp fiction; Oh Dae-su is flesh and blood--and BOY, do we get to see that demonstrated, very graphically indeed. Reviewers have equally high praise for the other films in Park's trilogy, "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance." I think I'm going to wait a while before I check them out, however. The DVD transfer of "Oldboy" is sharp and excellent, but the film has been dubbed rather than subtitled (not really a problem, except for the annoyingly chirpy voice of the actress who dubs the character of Miko). A bigger disappointment is that the deleted scenes and the bonus interview with Chan-wook Park are in undubbed, unsubtitled Korean."
A mind-bending, disturbing revenge flick
Adam Craig | Columbus, OH | 09/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Oldboy's beginning had me excited for the rest of the film. I mean it is a great beginning. Oh Dae-su is kidnapped from the middle of the street one night, and we then learn through his narration that he will be in his cell for the next 15 years. We go through the journey with him, seeing the time pass by as he finds ways to get himself through each day. Then, miraculously, he is released one day for what appears to be no reason whatsoever. Once he is released, he sets out to find his captors. The only clue he has is the food that he ate on every single day for the past 15 years, so he goes to every restaurant named Blue Dragon until he tastes the food he knows so well. Once he finds out where he was kept, he has to find out who and why, and that is where the film goes crazy.
The twists at the end of this film are some of the best I can think of from recent film history. Not only is the subject matter hard to handle, but the film also features some horrible scenes of violence, and one scene where a live octopus was definitely harmed in the making of the film. While I'm not in love with this movie (it definitely slows down after the beginning), it is more interesting and original than a lot of stuff that our country has put out recently. And it was definitely good enough for me to check out the other two parts of Park's vengeance trilogy."
This Oldboy's Life
Terrence Aybar | New York City | 11/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm surprised to see that no one else has written about this collector's edition DVD package because it's so cool that it needs to be spoken about in some form or other. It comes in a metal box which is exactly the same dimensions as the box that the HBO series "Band of Brothers" came in. There's that which is already pretty nice but inside is where you find the real treasure. The film comes in a three disc set, each one in an individual slipcase with one of the three main characters in the film on the cover. The presentationof the film is on par with, if not above the quality of the previous Tartan video release in terms of picture and sound. This set has a 6.1 DTS mix which is nice, clear and loud. The picture is very nice as it should be, since this film is beautifully shot. There are plenty of bonus features like commentary and featurettes but the third disc has the best supplementary feature which is a production diary from the entire shoot. I think this is one of the shining examples of a behind the scenes documentary done right as it really shows you what goes in to making a film and how much hard work it can be. It's lengthy, it's detailed and thankfully, it has English subtitles because I don't speak a lick of Korean. Just for this documentary alone, this set is worth picking up.
Finally, you get not only a 35mm film strip encased in a nice cardboard sleeve, you get a miniaturized graphic novel of the original similarly titled Japanese Manga that the film was based off of. If you've seen the special edition of Sin City that came with the Hard Goodbye graphic novel, it's just like that except its printed in reverse and you have to read it from back cover to front like you would with an actual Japanese book! (Don't worry, the language is in English so you can still read it)
This is easily one of the best recommendations I can make. If you love the movie, this is a no-brainer. If you know someone else who loves this movie, this would make a great gift. Either way, this is one of the coolest all around DVD packages I've ever picked up and believe me, I've picked up plenty."