Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I dreamt that my two most recent ex-boyfriends got married on the exact same day... and to other females, of course, not to each other. That dream disturbed me so much I woke up at 5.30 am, dazed and confused, before falling back asleep.

Maybe it was the aftereffect of having drank beer earlier that night, or perhaps, it was the result of what made me drink that beer in the first place - which was because I had just watched Oldboy. It's not an overly violent nor scary film, but it is rather sick and twisted. Usually I can catch plot twists coming from some distance away, but this time, it caught me entirely by surprised. In my defense, I maintain it's because I didn't think anyone could be that perverted.

Oldboy, if you haven't heard by now, is supposed to be one of the best films to have come out of Korea in the past few years. Directed by Park Chanwook as part of his "Vengeance" trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance are the other two films), Oldboy is shocking, violent, brutal and even funny at times.

Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik) is kidnapped and imprisoned by an unknown assailant after a night out on the town. Little does he know that his imprisonment would last 15 years. Upon his release, just as mysterious as his capture, he is told by his tormentor (Yu Ji-Tae) that he has five days to figure out the reason why he imprisoned Dae-Su. Immediately after his release, he runs into radiant Mido (Gang Hye-Jung) who takes it upon herself to help Dae-Su find out what's going on. The trouble is, that there are far too many pat coincidences, and Dae-Su finds himself both falling for Mido while not being able to trust her.

I won't say anything more about the story, as that would be giving away too much.

I have to say that I was definitely shocked by the movie. There were two scenes in particular which disturbed me, both of which involved physical violence. If you are able to sit through the tooth-pulling scene without once averting your eyes, then you are a far braver, stronger person than I am. Either that, or you're a sick b*****d. I can't talk about the other scene, but I'll just say that it occurs at the movie's climax.

While the acting is undoubtedly very good, and the cinematography inspired, I didn't find myself feeling very strongly for any of the characters. Also, I'm not entirely sure what the message of the movie was intended to be; whether it's supposed to be saying something about how the desire for vengeance ultimately ends up meaningless, whether truth is more important than revenge or whether love, originally intended to be the salvation of a person, turns out be as sick and twisted as everything else in one's life.

But was this a good movie? Without a doubt, everyone should watch this movie once. But once only. I'm not sure if anyone should subject himself/herself to that much perversion too often.

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