Starring: Choi Min-sik, Yu Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Running Time: 120 mins
Oldboy is a South Korean film about a man who embarks on a search filled with violence and revenge after he learns that he has only 5 days to find the man who once held him captive for 15 years, and why.
Well, this is definitely one of the most disturbing films of all time. It’s got a chillingly unpredictable story, with constant tension throughout that will have you wholly captivated from start to finish, whilst it’s full of properly violent action that makes for a massively entertaining watch as well as one that will really intrigue you.
The main feel that you’re going to get from this film for the majority is one of a really violent action thriller. It’s nothing like the cartoonish violence that you get from Tarantino, but instead realistic, brutal and gory fighting that makes it all the more exciting, because our main man seems to be in such real danger at all times.
The characters here are brilliant, as well as the actors behind them. Dae-su Oh, played by Min-sik Choi, is an excellent action hero, and despite being a clearly enraged and often nasty man, he works well as a protagonist that you’re fully willing to support. The supporting players, including the mysterious Woo-jin Lee and the strange Mi-do, also play a massive role in the movie, and although it appears for the most part that it’s all about our main man Dae-su, the secondary characters are just as intriguing as the story ramps up in its final act.
The way that the plot unfolds here is not dissimilar to Memento. Of course, it’s a little more action-packed, but the idea of a man desperately trying to figure out something massively important while being totally in the dark is the main concept, and that makes for the same thrills and unpredictability that the Nolan classic gives, something that was brilliant to see unfold.
The story can appear as two separate things, a crazy revenge thriller, or a deeply disturbing drama, and in order to get the experience of both, you really need full concentration right up to the last second, particularly in the absolutely mind-blowing final act, where predictions are pointless and the unpredictability is high.
Overall, this gets an 8.3, because of its brilliantly brutal violence that makes it such an exciting film, as well as the stunning screenplay and characters that turn this into one of the most compelling and shocking films you’ll ever see.