Oldboy (2003) Movie Review


Oldboy. It is almost impossible to talk about this film without spoiling it but I’ll try my best not to. Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and placed in a solitary confinement in an unknown prison-like area. He is trapped for 15 years. Isolated. No human contact. All he has is a TV, food brought to him, and a bathroom within in the room. He hasn’t a clue why he is trapped. He just is. At one point very early on in the film as he is watching TV, he learns that his wife has been murdered and that he is somehow the prime suspect. After this 15 year period, he is let go and is on a rooftop in the middle of nowhere. Now, his mission is to get revenge, violent, bloody revenge and try to piece together why he was kidnapped. To me, this is the definitive psychological thriller, the entire movie takes you on twists and turns, you have no idea where it might go next, it isn’t afraid to get to the darkest place possible, beat you up as the viewer emotionally, and beat up the characters emotionally.

The camera style is completely unique. At times, it’ll feel like a guerilla style of filmmaking. And in particular, there is an incredible fight sequence that feels like a 2D style beat-em up video game with how it’s shot in what appears to be a single take, it’s different, unique, and absolutely incredible. The acting is superb on all fronts, each actor embodies their role, no matter how psychotic things get. The soundtrack is also top notch with a score that certainly fit’s the emotional levels on the film. But, most importantly are the twists. This movie takes you for such a ride, one that’ll I wish I could experience again with my memory completely wiped because of how good it was. It is in the realm of Fight Club in terms of how great the twists are, if not better.

It hits on a lot of emotional fronts with it’s characters. They are deep and sophisticated, even if it takes awhile to get to there emotional core, it is well worth it. The fact is, a man that has been isolated for 15 years is going to have complex emotions, confusion, anger, tension, everything under the sun. And it plays in the favor of the film in nearly everyway, allowing for an extraordinarily memorable and unique character. For some inexplicable reason (not really…Hollywood just wants money), this movie is getting remade (and actually being released in like 3 days as of posting). My suggestion, fuck the remake. Just go watch this great Korean film on Netflix right now with subtitles on. There isn’t a single reason why this movie needs to be remade. Essentially, stop being lazy and watch some subtitles is what I’m trying to tell you (besides if you completely ignore foreign films, you are missing out). Overall, this movie is a ride, a strange, unique experience that you won’t forget soon, it’ll stick with you, it gets crazy, psychotic, and hit’s the breaking points of a human being.

5/5 stars.


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