Before you watch this film, just be aware that you're not going to walk away from it with a big smile on your face. More like you'll want to slit your wrists. To say that Mr. Vengeance is a powerful, gut-wrenching nightmare is like saying that DaVinci merely dabbled in art.
The plot is so simple yet so complex. The direction is so elegant yet so hard-hitting. The simplistic nature of the story makes the descent into hell so shocking and captivating. You don't realize there is no going back until it's far, FAR too late.
Ryu is a deaf/mute who works in the loudest factory in the world, doing a really depressing job. His sister needs a kidney transplant, but they don't have the money to pay for it. He cannot give her one of his own because their blood types do not match. Ryu decides to go to black market organ traders to trade one of his own for one that matches his sister. Waking up naked and kidney-less in an abandoned building he now needs to raise money for his own kidney.
Ryu is now fired from his job by President Park, who is downsizing the company. His anarchist girlfriend Yeong-mi convinces him to kidnap Park's daughter and hold her to ransom. From then on, things get very, very, VERY heavy and the idea of who exactly Mr. Vengeance is is blurred and sympathy is felt for almost everyone. Revenge comes at a high price and seemingly never ends. Not that I am saying forgiving and forgetting is the way. But this movie will make you think twice about getting your own back.
The violence is spontaneous and extremely graphic without ever feeling exploitational. Sometimes it has a darkly comic feel to it, the rest of the time it's goddamn hardcore. You'll wince a great deal during this movie, that's for damn sure.
Park Chan-wook directs with such beautifully composed images that are far from the the garish MTV-style action/thriller movies produced in Hollywood these days. I don't want to sound like some sort of snob who proclaims all foreign films to be great and all Hollywood to be crap but it's not very often that Hollywood makes a film like this unless it's a remake. Written in a mere 20 hours in a single massive, creative outburst, this movie seems to have genius laced through every minute of it's running time.
Not a date movie, not a whogivesadamn pig-out movie. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a film you will be sucked right into and you'll be far from happy when you emerge at the end. But what a horrific ride!
The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby/DTS 6.1 sound.