Sympathy for Mr Vengeance 2002

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(41) IMDb 7.7/10
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Dark thriller by Korean director Chan Wook Park. A deaf mute, Ryu (Shin Ha-Kyun) saves all his hard-earned money for his sister who requires a kidney transplant. He has the wrong blood type to be able to donate one of his kidneys, so he arranges a trade with a group of black-market organ dealers: one of his kidneys and 10 million won in return for their finding a kidney for his sister. Just as the criminals renege on the deal, a legitimate kidney becomes available for transplant. Unfortunately, Ryu no longer has the 10 million won required for the hospital to perform the operation. In retaliation, he and his political activist girlfriend kidnap his former boss's daughter - but events quickly spiral quickly out of control...

Starring:
Bae Du-Na, Bo-Bae Han
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 1 minute
Starring Bae Du-Na, Bo-Bae Han, Song Kang-ho, Hyun-Joon Shin, Ji-Eun Lim
Director Park Chan-Wook
Genres Drama, Thriller
Studio PALISADES TARTAN
Rental release 27 October 2003
Main languages Korean
Subtitles English
Original title Boksuneun naui geot
Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 1 minute
Starring Bae Du-Na, Bo-Bae Han, Song Kang-ho, Hyun-Joon Shin, Ji-Eun Lim
Director Park Chan-Wook
Genres Drama, Thriller
Studio PALISADES TARTAN
Rental release 25 January 2010
Main languages Korean
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By J. Delaney on 2 July 2006
Format: DVD
People seem to make some strange mistakes when watching films like this one. They expect to leave the cinema e.t.c feeling great, with a sense of closure and fulfilment, and this therefore makes a good film. Why should this be?

This is not a nice film. You will leave this feeling tired and weary and thinking "why couldn't it have been different...?" You have to look pretty hard to find someone being nice. You have a tragic kidnapper who cannot hear or speak, and a father who will do anything for his child, I ended up feeling sorry for everyone! This is a grim portrayal of life, and you will not come to the end of this film with an affirmation of all life's goodness. With this said, IT IS A GREAT FILM! Everything is done well, the acting and directing is not quite on par with Oldboy but I believe it is a fitting part of Park Chan-Wook's revenge trilogy. Beware, though, this is not 'lovey dovey' cinema. It's a show of how unkind life can be.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Inspector Gadget VINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jan. 2005
Format: DVD
As is so often the case with truly challenging cinema I couldn't make up my mind wether I liked this film or not. It started slowly, enveloping the viewer in the torpid misery of its characters and even when things started to develop it never really changed pace although the plot became bleaker and so unremittingly dark that it occurred to me it may be a pitch black comedy. It could never be classed as entertainment but is grimly fascinating and as a moral lesson in the futility of violence and the intractable way acts of vengeance have a relentless cyclic effect it is possibly one of the finest I've seen.
What however really makes this film stand out is the stylish direction and cinematography, and the wonderful composition of some the scenes. Even the moments when the characters aren't really doing anything, and there are a lot of those, carry a real beauty to them. Wandering down a stone flanked alley half in light, half in shade or trudging agonisingly through rippling water trailing plumes of blood every scene has something to admire and should you find the narrative too terse and the plot too grim just let the ravishing visuals assault your senses.
So while not a film I enjoyed in the normal sense of the word Sympathy for Mr Vengeance is a film I'd recommend anybody see at least once. I'd even watch it again...just not right away.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Feb. 2005
Format: DVD
Park has reached a wider audience with his subsequent Oldboy yet this film is arguably the better of the two. There is still a third in his series of vengeance movies to come, so it could still be topped!
The film is profoundly unsettling in parts, yet this isn't because of excessive violence. In fact, there's not much of it compared to more mainstream fare. It's just that you feel it even when it takes place off camera. Whereas Oldboy has you identify with its main protagonist and his struggles, Sympathy makes you feel for each of its characters and the pain they suffer and the suffering they then inflict. There's a tenderness to this film not present in Oldboy as well as a political bite to its portrayal of South Korean life.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By MissB on 25 Jun. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film was a very good watch. It draws you in and then keeps you completely hooked. What I found so brilliant about the film was that at first I was not sure what to expect and I suspected that it was going to be a lot more light hearted than it turned out to be. It could have been depressing but the skilled way in which the subject matter is dealt with is absolutely fantastic and means that far from being depressing the film is hynotic and thought provoking.
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<br />The film raises a question, amongst many, of 'when, if ever, is seeking vengence justified'.
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<br />I loved this film.
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