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Sep 9, 2003

Perform sex? Uh uh, I don't think I'm up to a performance, but I'll rehearse with you...

Only in Asia could you go to a film studio and say "Hey, I want to make a movie that has about 80 plot twists and makes fun of the audience" and get money.

After a minute into that fight scene I just got pumped because there wasn't a single camera change, something you never see ever.

The plot is complicated, but that just means you get to watch it again and again and again and pick up on new things


Edit: Bumped up another .5 because this movie has stayed with me for WEEKS after I have seen it. Only the best do that.

NeuroticErotica fucked around with this message at 22:38 on Sep 30, 2004


Dancing Peasant
Jul 19, 2003

All this for stealing a piece of bread?

Movie gets a 5.0 for the original, yet awesome and brilliantly executed storyline. And it gets another 0.5 for the Hammer scene. I haven't seen a battle like that in awhile.

Jun 14, 2000

I am hope.

I wrote a big long post that started with the sentence, "Some of you guys need to wipe the fluids off your monitor and calm down."

I deleted that one when I realized I was reviewing this thread and not the movie.

I love Asian movies. I love surprise twist endings (when they don't suck -- I'm looking at you, The Village). I love violence, and I love boobs. This movie has all of that and more. The girl was cute, the claw hammer scene was awesome, the acting was spectacular. The direction, camera work, editing, and overall style all get an A+ in my book.

The premise was even great. Getting imprisoned for 15 years and having no idea why is a chilling thought.

The story itself, though, left something to be desired. A bad guy insane enough to plot such implausibly complicated revenge over a hormone-induced teenage tragedy is neither remotely believable nor sympathetic. The hunt for the bad guy, his repeated one-upsmanship, and the ultimate coup de grace (oh my god they're father and daughter I must tear my clothing in lamentation and recommend this DVD to all my friends) were kooky, but predictable. It was a fun watch, but I wasn't blown inside-out by what I saw. Please, don't tell me I don't "get" it like some Harry Knowles wannabe who needs to believe he's "got" something us squares don't. It isn't a "travesty" that this movie's right around 4.5 on the boards. I'd say that's exactly what it deserves, and that's no insult.

Mar 8, 2003

Hello beautiful. gonna get gross.


Avidin came out of the closet to say:
This movie gets to IT for me, the very loving core. Everyone should see this regardless of where you come from.

One of the best pieces of cimema I have ever seen.


Well said.

Having watched this several times now, I can't manage to pull myself out of its world and look for interesting things. I'm just completely entranced watching this movie. The acting is spectacular, the cinematography blows me away, the fights are cooler than just about anything I've seen in the longest time, the characters are sick and twisted, the soundtrack is perfect...

The list goes on.

Shook me to the core now dangles me by a thread with every viewing. My official favorite movie of all time.


Sep 20, 2004

Incredibly stylish, very violent, fast-paced and an entertaining plot. All ingredients for a good action movie are there, and the movie delivers like you've hoped it would. I thought the ending was a minor letdown compared to the rest of the movie, but it's still one of the best action movies out there. 4,5/5.

May 22, 2004

Vivat Buster!

It's all been said here ... hosed up, brilliant, awesomely acted and directed. It really lives up to all the hype. Do yourself a favor and check it out before the American remake hits (yes, there is one in the pipe already )

4.5 / 5

Lenin Riefenstahl
Sep 18, 2003

That's enough! Out of here, you tubs of beer!

I just saw this yesterday morning in the cinema (it's only just come out here in England). I was lucky and they were showing it on the big screen (any london goons, go to the Trocadero and catch it there).

This film sucked me in from the off. I can't really say a bad thing about it. Various gripes like the 15 year imprisonment for a teenage indescretion being unbelievable were blown away for me by the acting. I COULD believe that guy was twisted enough. loving hell, the last we see of him in the elevator, where he has a flashback tore me apart.

This film was so much more than a set of action sequences, a few gimmicks and some neato camera. The important thing is that it worked as a whole. I didn't see some of the major twists coming, mostly because I was enjoying the ride so much. I was in the moment with these characters all the way.

Maybe I was in the right mind set for it (11.50 showing after 3 hours sleep the night before and some relationship drama), but this film really shook me. I could only remember being similarly affected by Man Bites Dog.


Oct 12, 2004

2.5 / 5

This movie had some great scenes and thrived in its own uniqueness, however it got tiresome and towards the end I had to do another coke just to remain awaken. Whoever said this was just another average movie from another comic book script was right, it's average at best. Well worth watching though.

Aug 11, 2000

by Fistgrrl

A truly amazing film, Very stylish, I felt it had very strong anime vibes in it, infact it almost felt like an anime film translated into a "real"-movie.

This movie has a great atmosphere, the charachters are apropriatly larger than life, the plot is quirky and surprising yet believable once you understand just how hosed up (and why) the villain is.

The music is fantastic, Classical pieces are used masterfully all throughout this film to inspire emotion as intensly as only classical pieces can, When Vivaldi's "Winter" is on you know you're up for a major scene, a nice touch.

In short, Don't watch this film if you have a short attention span or if you can't understand basic metaphores and symbolisms, Otherwise, watch it as soon as you can.


Aug 13, 2004

One principle to review films by:

what was the experience of watching that film?

There are a lot of showy 'tricks' which some people object to on a cerebral level in oldboy, but I am considdering this film purely on it's impact.

It made me feel gut-renched, spine-tingled, dumb-struck, and by the end, perhaps a tad too strained by the emotional trauma piled-on.

Little else has engaged me quite so vicerally for quite a while.

So don't knock a movie for it's methods, just ask 'what's the cumulative effect'?

Oldboy is definitely worth the experience.

Anonymous John
Mar 8, 2002

Loved it. I suspected that Mido might be the main character's daughter, but it was still shocking to actually find out and see the reactions of it (not to mention how the 15 year inprisonment was just the setup of the revenge). Glad I waited with importing the DVD since I got to see it in a cinema, and it was great to see it that way. Took my mom to see it - not nessecarily a smart choice beforehand - but surprisingly she liked it as well despite the violence. The end did drag on a little too long but other than that, a great, great film.

And was I the only one who was laughing at times? The giant ant in the subway, the suicide victim killing himself with a poodle, the part where Dae-su tries to screw the girl on the toilet and the dotted line pointing from the hammer to the head?


Jul 20, 2003

Well that's weird.

Wow just watched this movie. Very awesome solid film that came to be a lot darker than I would of though. I also loved the fight scenes in this movie a lot. I admire how they rarely changed the camera angles instead of changing the angle every 2 seconds. IM LOOKING AT YOU BOURNE SUPREMACY


cash money
Oct 23, 2004

by Fistgrrl


Excellent movie. Lots of awesome camera work; especially the epic hallway claw hammer scene. The music was perfect and it really fit the movie (the Ant on the Train scene and bridge scene at the very end). The acting was superb. The ending is really crucial, as the facial expression sums up the philosophical point of the film. I can't want to see another Chan-wook Park movie.

Clown Meadows
Jul 13, 2003

YARRRR! Where be the gray matter up in this piece, son?

I thought this was a great movie.. The acting was great etc etc but some things just didn't do it for me e.g. The whole thing about why all of this was done to him seemed a little over the top. The twist was great but as someone else has mentioned, the whole tie-everything-together at last minute feels a bit overdone now.. Then again, this was made two years ago.


Oh also, awesome cinematography. But I hated how at the end he just lapses back into being the pathetic, weak man he was at the start. Was there a reason for him cutting out his own tongue?

Clown Meadows fucked around with this message at 22:35 on Jan 10, 2005

Jul 31, 2004

Let's* go Blackhawks! The Blues and Red Wings suck.

I'm not entirely sure what I just watched, but it was pretty drat entertaining. It seems director Chan-wook Park borrowed some elements from Greek myth in this convoluted story of taboos and revenge. The cinematography was pretty top notch and the acting was superb. The movie hooks you right away, leaving you to wonder why Oh-Daesu was imprisoned. Speaking of Oh-Daesu, he's probably one of the most interesting and unique characters I've seen in a while. Korean film is certainly becoming a major player in my eyes in the cinema world.

Rated 4.5/5 because of the excellent camerawork and bizarre plotline and twists

Nov 19, 2004

Nice try, asshole

Good sense of style but the various plot twists are way too contrived (making every "revelation" entirely unsatisfying), and the violence is too gratuitous. A perfect example of how the iMDB top 250 is dominated by the tastes of young males. Rating: 3

FitFortDanga fucked around with this message at 03:34 on Feb 7, 2005

Jul 24, 2004

I heard good things about this movie, and wasn't disappointed. Stylish, with an engaging plot and excellent acting.


Dec 21, 2004

by Fistgrrl

Lives up to the hype. It may be 70% style, but god what style it has. For the five-minute fight scene, I'm willing to forgive the somewhat uneven plot and pacing. Also plus for controversy, interesting cinematography and the most bad-rear end protagonist I have seen in years. 5/5

Aug 26, 2003

"I came here to argue with you about a freaking television show!"

Man I for one DID see the ending halfway through the film, and it was such a grotesque revelation that I was like OH GOD OH GOD...

Like most Asian cinema this goes off into artsy froo-froo land at times, and I thought the entire second act was almost like a different movie like Chun King Express or something. I was kind of hoping for a little more of the first act throughout the movie then on second thought, it might not have been as good.


Action scenes that will lift you out of your seat.


4 out of 5

I would recommend you delve more seriously into other foreign films first, if your suddenly being drawn into the world of Asian cinema this might not be the first ticket.

Apr 23, 2003

I hate to advocate emptyquoting or shitposting to anyone, but they've always worked for me.

Not since Requiem for a Dream has a movie had any sort of serious emotional impact on me. (Except Alexander, which was so bad it made me cry for a week.) Old Boy makes Requiem look like a nursery rhyme, and I love it.

The story is so well written, that I think it would still be worth watching if the entire thing was filmed on a handicam and the sound was done with a 1980s walkman recorder. That said though, the sound and cinematography were also both top notch. I don't know what it was like where you guys saw it, but the volume was cranked all the way up in the theater I saw it in, which means every single little noise was like a gunshot, and the gunshots were like earthquakes. I feel this only made things better.

One thing I'll say about the fight scenes is that I really appreciated the realism in them. It was refreshing to see the "hero" struggling to kill 35,000,000,000 people. Watching him slump over and struggle to get up was a good thing to see for a change.

I think the rollercoaster ride that the various plot twists take you on is a very good thing, and I love the way the ending was filmed. I did however finding myself thinking "Fade to black now and we're all happy" at quite a few points near the end of the film, but I think the ending that the director decided on was brilliant, and the doubt that it leaves the audience with is brilliant.

5/5. Everyone should watch this at least once, although like Fight Club, the first time will always be better than the rest.

Oct 6, 2003

I'll play it first and tell you what it is later.

Nothing I can say hasn't already been said, except - I was terribly disgusted when he ate the live squid GOOD loving GOD that almost made me throw up

I had no expectations for this movie going into it, and I really enjoyed it. One of my new favorite films.


oh yeah, and the part where he pulls the guys teeth out had me moving faster than a dancing Corgi

Syjefroi fucked around with this message at 06:53 on Mar 18, 2005

Mar 3, 2004


Just finished watching this and I must say it has been one of the more memorable movie moments for myself. Going to show this to some friends, I hope they get the same enjoyment and shock out of it that I did.


the Paper
Aug 12, 2003



Originally a 4/5, because I felt that the ending left a lot to be desired and the flashbacks were dull. However, this is one of those rare movies that is actually still in my brain and I still think about it after a week. The music is excellent, and it fits perfectly with what goes on.

I still feel that the ending should have more substance to it, since the entire ending of the revenge plot was, to me, random.

Oct 14, 2003

Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!


Great plot up until the revelation of the hypnosis when you suddenly realise how ridiculous it is for a large part. The 15 year isolation of the of Oh-Daesu is never really felt either, it skips time far too quickly.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Asian cinema, but just because it is Asian doesn't mean it can rely on a weak plot point, lack of storytelling or flashy fight scenes (see Casshern aswell).

Aug 15, 2001

Don't it make your dick bust concrete to be in the same room with two noble, selfless public servants.

This is one hosed up movie.

It's also a really well-done hosed-up movie. It has excellent camera work and the soundtrack to the movie matches perfectly with some of the scenes. I like the concept of the villainous hero, and Oh Dae-su is an superb example. It's well acted. The fight scenes especially were fantastic. It's great to see a hero catch his breath and be vulnerable to hits like any other man.

The only real downsides of the movie was the "detective" work done to track their way back to the villain. I think that's just the writer not really bothering to develop a way to work their way back to from the bottom of the gang to the top, but I'm not going to let the writer drag the director down. Besides, the premesis of the movie is creepy and scary and almost realistic. How many people actually just up and disappear with no trace?


Aug 4, 2002

Douche Baggins

Sorry, I don't know how the hell I posted four times. Ignore this and the next two posts.

Bonk fucked around with this message at 09:24 on Sep 21, 2005

Aug 4, 2002

Douche Baggins


Bonk fucked around with this message at 09:23 on Sep 21, 2005

Aug 4, 2002

Douche Baggins


Bonk fucked around with this message at 09:23 on Sep 21, 2005

Aug 4, 2002

Douche Baggins

I just watched this tonight, so some of this may be knee-jerk, and some of my thoughts may change once everything settles in a little more, but I'm just a tad confused about what I just watched. Sorry for the spoiler tags, but I can't really express my feelings about this movie without citing a few examples.

Acting? Excellent. Cinematography? Amazing. Score? Wonderful. In fact, about the only thing I didn't like about this movie, is unfortunately the biggest part of it: The story.

There are no redeeming factors in the story at all, it's just one long elaborately set-up chain of horrible events designed to torture people, and in return to torture the torturers. Nobody is redeemed and nobody comes out of it having learned anything or understood themselves any better. At its core it's basically just a story about a disturbed man who tortures others until they're driven to the point of insanity, and then the mood never lets up or gets any more uplifting. Particularly toward the end when instead of getting his revenge, Daesu becomes a sniveling, pathetic coward. In effect he kicks his own rear end, while Woo-Jin shrugs off all that intended vengeance and just shoots himself, because the 15 years of clueless imprisonment wasn't enough payback. I wish that what Daesu did in his past turned out to be far more horrible. I know Oh Daesu's not supposed to be a Boy Scout or anything, but he's not built up as a villain either because he never really deserved any of it, and that I had a problem with: No sense of balance. Plus there's a whole sequence where the main character simply "remembers" a big and important key to the mystery, which he somehow didn't dredge up out of his memory during his 15 years confined to a single room.

There's really only one innocent character, but even her whole love story comes on impossibly quickly, and the whole part that explains why becomes a major deus ex machina by the end, which is pretty implausible anyway. I understand the point of the characters and their motivations to some degree, except possibly Woo-Jin who is just a straight one-dimensional villain if you think about it. What I don't understand was the point to the story, unless the director's just big on ripping off Greek tragedy (except with Daesu's tongue instead of Oedipus stabbing out his eyes). The only difference is that the play I refer to was a story about fate, where Oldboy was a story about a family being tortured and torn apart for a very petty reason in comparison. Maybe there's some deeper meaning that I just didn't get, but it certainly doesn't feel like it.

It had a lot of redeeming factors, but the story being told is the biggest part of any movie, and they had me pretty interested up until the big twists came, which I thought sort of shattered everything they had built up to that point. I wanted to like it more than I did, but I didn't feel like the story accomplished anything.

Pros: Interesting story for the majority of it, great acting, cinematography, music, and cool fight scenes.
Cons: Shock and mindfuckery can sometimes make a great movie, but I didn't feel that in this case.

2.5 for what I did like about the movie, but it seems the story just tried to shock itself into people's top 10 lists, and it seems like it worked for a lot of you.

Jul 23, 2005

Glory to the Many, I am a voice in their choir.

A beautiful, brutal film with an excellent cast, far-fetched but still believable story with fantastic acting, score, and design.


Nov 28, 2004

dont try

Chan-wook Park posted:

I don't feel enjoyment watching films that evoke passivity. If you need that kind of comfort, I don't understand why you wouldn't go to a spa.

this film had me clenched from the tooth-pulling until the very end...I cannot recall a film ever doing this..

Mar 4, 2004

Definitely a movie destined for cult classic status. However, like many cult movies, despite it's virtues, it is still deeply flawed. It suffers from all the problem most movies from the asian scene suffer from- the use of style for styles sake, not as a method for advancing the plot.

However, it has style in spades, and that alone makes it worth watching.

Also, the ending was interesting, but felt tacked on for dramatic effect. Well, more likely, tacked on for it's nihilistic effect. Still, it's definitely one of the most interesting films I have seen come out in the past few years.


Aug 5, 2002

by Fistgrrl

Like the disturbed protagonist, this film breaks a shitload of rules and creates new ones in the process.

The hallway fight is also one of the most compelling realistic fight scenes I've ever seen in any film.


Oct 10, 2005

I really liked this film. However....the scene in the restaurant was too disturbing for me.

The thing was actually real too

Jan 26, 2003

We'r even, seņor!

It's the ultimate revenge-movie.


Oct 10, 2004

by Lowtax

I picked the DVD up because it was cheap, and I had heard CineD circlejerking over it. I knew it was a revenge film, but that was about it (I didn't even know it was Korean until I put the DVD in the drive).

The beginning was interesting, the drunk Daesu made me wonder just what type of revenge film it would be. I would have rated the film a 3 or 4 if nothing happened after his incarceration, the style was nice, I was starting to wonder what was going on, it was asking all the right questions and looking nice as it did it.

Then there is the first fight, against the kids. "Is 15 years of training enough?". He moves forwards, smoke pouring out of his nose and mouth, that was when I fell in love, it was the first awesome fight scene of the film, and it only got better from there on.


Feb 9, 2001

by Reene

A revenge movie that makes Kill Bill seem timid and quaint by comparison. I could not watch during the teeth pulling sequence but the hammer fight, as mentioned, has to be seen to be believed--an audacious, bravura sequence.

As has been pointed out about the ending, it takes things to the fairly logical extremes of incest and what not which is about as shocking as you can get in that setup,, nevertheless while I could not watch Ichi the Killer and did not really enjoy it, Oldboy leaves a mark that won't soon fade...

A mark left by a claw hammer.


Hungry Gus
Apr 24, 2005

Me an' the All-Mighty Puppet are gonna have a come to Jesus...

People who voted this less than a 5 need to get over themselves.
Having had lived in Korea, where hosed-up poo poo happens daily, this kind of poo poo is oddly believable in a top 1% of the ruling class can get away with some unbelievable poo poo kinda way.

This was a beautiful movie.
The hallway hammer fight was loving unique. I have never seen such a scene in a live action movie ever. All I can hope for is some immitation because that was loving amazing.

And the ending... out of left field.

Laugh and the world laughs with you.


May 12, 2001

by zen death robot

Grimey Drawer

the point of the first two films in Park-wook's revenge trilogy is that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

people like me who got the point think sympathy for Mr. vengeance and old boy are perfect, or nearly perfect films. it is human nature to be vengeful, and the pursuit of that revenge is an obsessive, life-destroying journey(unless you are getting revenge against your coworker for stealing your Dannon yogurt from the fridge).

criticizing this film because there were no "fuzzy feelings" at the end or "redemption" is ridiculous.

comparing sympathy to old boy i would have to say the only problem i had was the cartoonish nature of the villain(oh daesu isnt exactly heroic but i couldn't figure out how to otherwise identify the tall crying man). none of the characters in sympathy are cartoonish and that movie consequently had a much greater impact on me.

if you liked this film check out park-wooks other movies and some non-wook korean movies like Memories of Murder(excellent) and Save the Green Planet.

voting 5.5


mary had a little clam
Apr 23, 2003

Well I am

Young Orc

This movie totally lives up to the hype. Stylish and well done. Pitch perfect... nary a mistake nor a complaint.


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