I'm being repressed!

Oldboy (올드보이)

Wow. I just finished watching Oldboy. What a mind-fuck. Mental flagellation. I’m still kind of stunned. I feel like I should wait for my mind to simmer down before writing further, because I can’t yet decide if I like the film or not. On the one hand, this is a very jacked up movie, and I would feel kind of disturbed for liking twisted movies. On the other, I feel no disdain for it; rather, I feel a certain awe towards it.

No, I’ve decided. I definitely like Oldboy. I watched the first movie in the trilogy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and I thought, “Hey, it’ll probably be like that.” That’s how I convinced my roommate to watch Oldboy with me. But the idea that it could be similar was disappointing. Who wants a rehash?  

Yeah. It’s not the same. It, too, is a movie about vengeance, but wow, Oldboy kicked it up a notch, or five. From wiki, Roger Ebert described it as a ”…powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare”. Quentin Tarantino really wanted it to win Palme d’Or over Fahrenheit 9/11. Bah, Tarantino. I wasn’t a fan after Death Proof. But he regained it all with his backing of Oldboy. I’ve never seen F9/11, but I cannot fathom how F9/11 could possibly touch the ground upon which Oldboy walks. 

I’m not going to get into the plot. This is one of those movies where spoilers would ruin absolutely everything about the movie, rendering it nearly unwatchable. But the gist of it:  A guy gets locked up in a cell for 15 years with no explanation, after which he is suddenly released.  Watch to see how his tale unfolds.

Immediately after finishing, I was reminded of Ma Mere. But I hated Ma Mere. So why did I like Oldboy? Ma Mere was just boring, and seemingly odd for the sake of oddness. Ebert’s description of Oldboy pretty much sums it up: powerful. Without even realizing it, you get the full gamut of human emotion: fury, guilt, sorrow, love, vengeance, pride, humility.

Supposedly there’s going to be an American remake. Here’s betting that it’s going to be horrendous.

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