I waited a long time to see this because I'm not a fan of the ultra-violence that somehow is popular in some quarters. But after seeing a clip in Mark Cousins' Story of Film (15 part series) and noting Oldboy's inclusion in a lot of lists, I thought I would check it out. The set-up/premise grabbed me right away -- after a drunken night out, our protagonist, Oh Dae-su, wakes up in a small apartment which turns out to be his prison for 15 years. He doesn't know who has imprisoned him or why. When he gets out, it is his task to find out. So, it is a thriller/mystery film and the clues keep coming. In fact, there is a "Moriarty-like" character who taunts our hero (if that's what you can call him) as well. So, the movie creates some suspense but its real pleasure is in its style, with a lot of audacious shots, split screens, and just plain panache (gratuitous violence and live octopus eating aside). Perhaps the content of the plot is a little too convoluted, a little too sick, but Chan Wook Park's aim was likely to try to top Tarantino or Gaspar Noe and in some ways he succeeds. Thrilling enough to recommend for those who have the tolerance for this sort of thing.
What an awful piece of pretentious rubbish! This movie is so busy trying to be shocking and arty it totally neglects the plot, screenplay and credibility. Junk.
A wild ride ... though it tough going at point stick it out til the end.
So good but so weird. This director has def got a UNIQUE vision. A must see for any budding filmmaker.
Why this has only 3 stars is truly beyond me. As with all of Chan-Wook Park films, a multitude of genres are skillfully woven together -- with romance playing a powerful role underlying a brusque action thriller.
For once, here we have a director who knows how to use violence as it was intended -- a high impact plot prop. It strikes you not as risque, but as powerful, and more than anything, intense. You can tangibly feel the revenge that plagues the protagonist; the film illustrates a starkly revealing portrait of Oh Dae-su.
And the twist! It's not one for words. (Literally, as you will find out.)
A true masterpiece of the 21st century.
This is a great movie if you don't mind weird themes and strong violence. Be aware that the quality of this DVD is quite lacking - hard coded subtitles and average picture quality. (4 stars for the film, 2 for the DVD)
Really fresh and different but maybe a bit too much violence. However, the story-line is the one that make this movie so unique, refreshing, and full of emotions.
An orchestrated tragic love story based on revenge. Quite a good plot that takes some work early on to get through but what follows is intriguing and very well put together.
This film couldn't maintain my interest for more than 15 mins. It was very noisy and dark and boring.
Awesome movie. Don't watch it if you are easily offended.
Not quite the masterpiece the arthouse aficionados make out but still very good. Will watch the others in the series on the strength of this one.
Interesting in a quirky sort of way. I could imagine the film being remade in America but with a overwhelming emphasis on the love conquers all element. What it all means? Who knows?
One of the best films of the last 10 or so years, fantastic!
This is fantastic Asian Cinema. To say it is well crafted is an understatement. The sets, the editing, the luscious score and the intricate plot, all blend to make this a full blown, mind bending experience.
Amazing story, with the most amazing final 15 minutes you could wish for! Makes you wonder what on earth is happening, but it is worth it for the finale! Wicked!
Very good, very different but worth the watch
Be aware that the ending is sooo frustrating and I can't even explain why without ruining it!!
Briliant. gripping story of revenge taken to the extreme. gory and violent in parts but not just for the sake of it. intense is the only way to describe this film
Different... I liked it, but my girlfriend absolutely hated it :)
An interesting story melded with the violence that makes Oldboy up with films that leave the viewer with a cinermatic experience.