Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy (Review)
Park Chan-wook/Choi Min-sik/2003
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...a brilliant mystery and exhilarating thriller..."

Kidnapped and held in a prison-like hotel room, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is released after 15 years and given 5 days to find out why...

Oldboy is a mystery-thriller hybrid that follows Dae-su as he tries to unravel this mystery. Dae-su looks for hints of were he was held and what he ate, as well as recollecting about his past and who he may have angered enough for such a bizarre and vicious punishment. Dae-su finds some aid in a young restaurant chef, Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung), as well. I don't want to get to deep into the story details, though: this is a story where the less you know, the better the experience. Regardless, I can say: this engaging and stylish mystery-thriller leads to a jaw-dropping climax and superb ending.

Oldboy is a fantastic mystery-thriller. The story is very interesting and engaging, keeping me hooked from the humorous introduction to its bittersweet ending. The mystery is very well crafted, too, always keeping me guessing. This is one of those masterful mysteries where you pull out your notepad and participate. As for action and thrills, Oldboy has some very stylish and violent action sequences; they're thrilling and elegantly vicious. They also work very well in balancing the film. So, you have some great character development and investigative work, then, BOOM, an unforgettable hallway brawl. The climax is shocking, one of the few that I can say will literally drop your jaw. Don't read about it beforehand, just prepare for the unexpected.

The acting is superb. Choi Min-sik is absolutely superb with a very genuine and versatile performance. Kang Hye-jung is also great, but shares far less screen time. Yoo Ji-tae delivers a very charismatic performance, too. The music is fantastic; this is a soundtrack that I listen to without the movie, very creative yet well-fitted. The film is shot beautifully, the cinematography stands out, and the camerawork is exemplary. Director Park Chan-wook meticulously and masterfully crafts a brilliant mystery-thriller; his vision and statement of vengeance never compromises, and his style is brilliant.

Overall, Oldboy is a masterpiece. It's a brilliant mystery and exhilarating thriller with a superb, unforgettable climax. Choi Min-sik delivers the performance of a lifetime, and Park Chan-wook's efficient and stylish direction is better than ever. Furthermore, if you're looking for a film that enters darker, more taboo territory than the usual, then this film will fill that need.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, sex and nudity.

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