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Review Written by: Chris Burns
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: R (for violence)

Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Written by: Chan-wook Park, Jo-yun Hwang, Chun-hyeong Lim and Joon-hyung Lim
Based on the comic by: Nobuaki Minegishi
Produced by: Seung-yong Lim
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Byeong-ok Kim
Studio: Egg Films

I personally feel Oldboy is the best film to come out of Asian cinema, it really hit me hard. I loved it from start to finish, this dark tale of revenge is one of the most unique experiences I've ever had. Everything about Oldboy is perfect: the direction, the poetic screenplay, the haunting operatic score and the wonderful acting. Even though Oldboy is a tale of revenge, it has an underlying message of redemption. I mean how can you feel sorry for someone when you don't know what they have done. You see Oldboy questions the viewer, you will falter between feeling sorry for someone and then wondering "But what did they do to make that person do such a thing?" The film tests what many viewers can handle, even though the film is disturbing it adds a touch of twisted humour. Chan-wook Park is a director with a lot of talent, he mixes genres perfectly and many different techniques used to create a dark foreboding atmosphere.

The dialogue is poetic, deep and meaningful. The phrase "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone" is a very true statement. It's the kind of dialogue where you want to sit back and think about it for a second because everything moves with great pacing. The movie is deep and fulfilling. It holds many surprise twists and turns and uses some great shock techniques. The film mixes genres together, mainly using revenge and drama. The movie studies humanity and how a person can hurt someone without realising it. I would say this masterpiece is very psychological because it tests the viewers boundaries of what they can handle in certain places. The movie has a very comic book feel to it because it's based off a Manga series as well as being part of the "Vengance Trilogy". The movie helps define the often used term of "cool".

Oldboy stands high up in a class of its own, the movie is visual beauty and shows the pain that the characters are going through. The edging menace that weaves its way throughout the film manages to keep the viewer watching and grasping for more. Oldboy is a film that sticks with you and plays on your mind for a long time after each viewing. The movie is very deep and manages to show things through "In your face" technique and subtle imagery through acting. Another genius aspect would be the way you can't really decide who's the bad person is, there are definitely no good characters apart from Dae-su Oh's lover who acts powerfully and with lots of precision. For example one of the great scenes in this masterpiece is the love scene, it shows all the pain Dae-su Oh is going through. The actor Min-sik Choi has been casted perfectly and plays his role as Dae-su Oh with sublime brilliance. The direction is stylish and different, the movie experiments with very clever camera techniques. An example would be the close up of Dae-su Oh in the right hand corner of the screen and the blurred image of someone behind him. Oldboy is an extremely intelligent style of film making that is for a viewer who wants to get something out of the movie they are watching.

The movie is somewhat like a Film-Noir, the narration adds depth and powerhouse style to the film's undertone. Hence the idea of revenge and telling the tale of something that asks the viewer questions. The movie plays with the mind and twists everything you once thought was correct. The viewer never knows who to trust or what is going to happen next. The movie is unpredictable and feels like a poem of death. The first 40 minutes or so build up a claustrophobic atmosphere. The film shows how our society and class we live in is fueled by evil. The movie is far from being an action movie and some might say far from being a revenge movie. It's more about lost love, self indulgence and finding inner tranquillity. The acting as mentioned is very powerful and provokes the viewer to ask the one main question that the film offers and that's "Why?"

Another important aspect would be "Insanity" and "What drives a human? What really makes them want to go out and do something?" Some viewers will be put from the films high-octane style and grace. But mainly the fact the movie is very twisted and disturbing. Though the added touch of satire adds a crazed ambition. The film actually feels quite Quentin Tarantino-like in certain places or at least something that would appeal to his taste in film. The film is un-flinching with its camera use and what is being put fourth in front of the viewer. Perfection, detail and sublime visual flare makes this one of the greatest films ever made. You'll be wanting to see Oldboy again and again as soon as it finishes. The movie is confusing and fulfilling with its wonderfully sweeping plot line. There is no doubt about it, Oldboy is one of the greatest films of the 21st century.

An iconic and famous image from Oldboy.
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