Original Title: Oldeuboi
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Written By: Chan-wook Park, Chun-hyeong Lim, Jo-yun Hwang
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr
To say there is very little actual fun to be had with the experience of watching the original Oldboy – is an understatement. But don’t misunderstand me, this is a fascinating ride if you have the patience and the stomach for it. I won’t tell you to much about the plot, but I can tell you this is probably the most visceral take on a revenge story you’re ever likely to see. Min-sik Choi’s performance as Dae-su Oh, runs the gamut from tragic to hilarious. Sometimes in the same scene. It’s an amazing performance, and the anchor that grounds this slickly written and directed movie.
This is not an easy film to watch. It has some pretty violent fight scenes involving knives, sticks, scissors and hammers! Scenes of torture too which will likely make your dentist cringe. In one scene our hero actually eats a small octopus. This was no CGI, and you’ll have to have a pretty strong stomach to handle this – especially as the live tentacles squirm around clinging to Dae-su’s face and hands. I’m sure Peta were on the phone the moment they heard about it! If all that sounds like something you can handle, then by all means take a look at this film. It’s a South Korean movie so you’ll have subtitles to read too. Please don’t watch a dubbed version of this as it’ll kill the main reason to see this film – Min-sik Choi’s performance.
Best viewing format:
This is mostly a dark and murky affair, but well photographed. If a big screen viewing became available I would recommend you go. At home, a HD showing would be best.
Best moment for me:
There are many great scenes in this film, but the one I enjoy the most is when Dae-su is fighting a dozen men in a long cramped corridor. The continuous single shot is from the side, and the camera moves left and right as the action continues for over three minutes. It’s amazing to watch. If you’re watching this at home on blu-ray or dvd, I’m almost positive you’ll play this one scene back over and over again.