A twisted and unflinching tale of revenge from Park Chan-wook

This was exceptional. Before going into it I thought it would just be a high octane action movie but oh boy was I wrong.

If anyone is reading this who hasn’t yet seen Oldboy, stop right there. I don’t give away any spoilers but I recommend that you go in as blind as possible like I did, for the best experience. Prepare yourself and buckle up cause you’ll be in for a wild ride.

Oldboy tells an unflinching tale of vengeance and the lengths that we go to just to inflict it. It’s masterfully directed, drip-feeding just enough information to make the big twist feel deserved without lessening its harrowing impact. The excellent storytelling is supported by an equally impressive soundtrack.

The action scenes were very impressive, putting most modern movies to shame. There’s a mindblowing one-take hallway fight scene that manages to make beating up dozens of enemies at the same time still feel realistic. I can see that the Netflix series Daredevil, a favourite of mine, took a lot of inspiration from Oldboy and rightly so.

The characters are very well written and full of depth, which the plot heavily relies upon to bring out your emotions. Performances are phenomenal all around. Choi Min-Sik has an over the top acting style that fits perfectly since the movie has a slight comic book feel to it. Yoo Ji-Tae plays a mysterious villain and is captivating in all his scenes.

Let’s talk about that big twist. I had a feeling it was going to happen but it was revealed in such a cruel way that it still had me feeling sick to my stomach. If that wasn’t enough, what follows is a torturous final sequence where we see Dae-Su receive intense mental and physical trauma. It’s sadistic, twisted and brutal, becoming more painful as more information is revealed to us. We find everything out at the same time as our protagonist, adding to the emotional gut-punches that we receive. All this leads up to a bittersweet ending that left me staring at the end credits long after the movie had finished.

I’d heard that this was a good film but my expectations were blown away, I can’t wait to dive into the next Park Chan-Wook feature. I’m writing this a day after watching and the film is still sticking strongly with me. What an experience.

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