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Third time's the charm...
on 13 May 2006
Why is it today, that all films have to come in trilogy form? Whatever the reason, film trilogies are everywhere in this day and age, so praise the Lord for Park Chan-Wook's third instalment to his brilliant Vengeance Trilogy, Lady Vengeance. Coming after the 2003 releases of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy, Lady Vengeance is perhaps the most stylish and charming (sorry, but Lee Young-Ae is slightly more attractive than Choi Min-Suk) of the three films that all stand alone in their own right.
We begin with Gueum-ja's release from a thirteen-and-a-half-year stint in prison for a kidnap and murder she took the blame for. Bitterly determined, out heroine is now a far cry from the charming 'Gueum-ja the kind-hearted' that touched each of her cellmates like an angel. Not losing her appeal, however, Gueum-ja now seeks revenge on the man who took her heart and soul away from her.
Starting her journey by visiting her old cellmates, Gueum-ja begins to plot her revenge, pulling in favours from all her ex-con buddies. Park's direction here quite literally shines, as we see the stories of all she has touched played out. Powerful, her angelic metaphor is brought to life. But, how she has fallen? She is now Hell-bent on revenge, and the reunion with her now adopted daughter only adds to her pain and anger.
Gueum-ja is no angel; not entirely innocent; and must feel some guilt. This is the film's charm. Like in Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy before it, the hero, or in this case heroine, is by no means perfect and has made their fair share of mistakes. The ability to empathise with the characters and live their journeys is what makes Park's films so beautiful. it's not just the aesthetically-pleasing weaponry!
Like the beautiful Gueum-ja, this film is by no means perfect, but does its best, nonetheless. The choice of music fits Gueum-ja's story with ease and, despite a slightly flawed and at times ending, the irony has a similar impact to that of Oldboy. A charming ending to an excellent trilogy. 9-out-of-10 falsely convicted felons would agree revenge is bittersweet.