Hye-jeong Kang

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Oldboy Review


Extraordinary
What can you say about a movie that has not one, not two, but three scenes of improvised oral surgery that make Laurence Olivier's bit in Marathon Man look like Steve Martin's bit in Little Shop of Horrors? For starters, you can say that that's really not the most disturbing thing this Korean import has to offer. Oldboy, as it turns out, is not interested in grossing us out, though not for a lack of trying. It's much more interested in playing with the conventions of the revenge fantasy and taking us on a very entertaining ride to places that, conceptually, we might not want to go.

The film begins with the first of many feints that play with our assumptions. A skinny, unkempt man holds another over the side of a building by his tie. Flash back to a fat, clean-shaven man named Oh Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) acting drunk and disorderly in a police station (in a truly Raging Bull-esque effort on Choi's part, we have no clue that this will become the man holding the tie). He isn't out for five minutes before he suddenly disappears. Next thing he knows, he's in what looks like a hotel room, being fed through a slot in a metal door and being gassed on a regular basis. This goes on for 15 years.

Continue reading: Oldboy Review

Oldboy Review


Very Good
According to some insiders, Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" was just a hair away from winning the 2004 Palm D'Or that eventually wentto Michael Moore's <"Fahrenheit9/11," which is just as well. Now instead of being an international award winner, it's an extremely cool little gemthat can be truly discovered by appreciative fans.

Bringing Asian cult films to a new level, this Korean importtells the hairy, gripping story of an ordinary businessman (Min-sik Choi)who suddenly disappears, having been kidnapped and kept in a single lockedroom for fifteen years without explanation. When he is finally released,he has one thing on his mind: to find out why.

His entire appearance has now changed, which is just onesmall accomplishment in a great performance by Choi. No longer a tubbydrunk in a cheap suit, he's now a lean, haunted, animal-like stoic capableof battling a platoon of bad guys in a long narrow hallway. In one of thefilm's most astonishing scenes, he does just that, with the camera trackingslowly to the right for the entire duration of this several minute-longfight, as the hero pummels his way through his attackers to the elusive exit.

Of course he meets a girl, a sushi chef (Hye-jeong Kang),and at his peculiar request she serves him a live squid (which the actoractually eats). She takes to him immediately and helps him on his quest.I must admit that when "Oldboy's" carefully prepared revengeplot finally reveals itself in the end, I did not see it coming. Even if,for some reason, astute viewers do predict the ending, "Oldboy"still fills the screen with enough show-stopping images to put an entirecircus out of work.

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Hye-jeong Kang Movies

Oldboy Movie Review

Oldboy Movie Review

What can you say about a movie that has not one, not two, but three...

Oldboy Movie Review

Oldboy Movie Review

According to some insiders, Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" was just a hair away from winning the...

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