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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.
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on 29 July 2006
My personal favourite of the trilogy (although Oldboy is a very close second). This film displays images that conjure up raw instinctive emotions for the viewer, mixed with shots of pure beauty and art. Following this woman's journey for closure is an amazing trip which keeps your mind busy, your rage pumping and the tears flowing. Beautiful.
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on 23 January 2010
After much speculation, I can confirm this is the 'fade to white' version only (starts at approx 75mins).
It is region B according to cover.
Extra features; Style of LV, making of LV,LV in Venice, the characters.

The 1080p/24fps picture is absolutely stunning, along with the Korean 5.1DTS-MA soundtrack, (English subtitles only).

Loses 1 star for not having both versions, but I am pleased to just have this excellent follow-on from Oldboy [Blu-ray] [2003] in high definition.

This could have been a definitive release, another missed opportunity for blu ray.
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on 28 February 2006
A superb conlusion to Chan-wook Park's excellent trilogy of blackly comic tragedies. Korean cinema is among the most exciting and progressive in the world and Lady Vengenence showcases exactly why. Min-sik Choi (unbelievably brilliant in Oldboy and Shiri) is once again fascinating and Yeong-ae Lee is equally as compelling as the complex heroine. Park's distinctive aesthetic vision and dedication to conceptualised, textured production design really makes his work distinctive, with brilliant performances from the cast transforming the stylish and violent images into profound meditations on life and loss. With more subtlety employed in the depiction of violence and a more accesible script, Lady Vengence could be described as a more mature outing for the often confontational director. Again employing subtle CGI to create a sureal world in which to hang an equally sureal and macabre story, Park indulges the audience in a visual, viscerial tale of humananity and it's darker side. An easier way to start with Chan-wook Park than either Oldboy or Sympathy for Mr. Vengence, if not quite as satisfying as either of those two pictures.
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on 29 June 2007
This film is really good. Park Chanwook made the perfect conclusion to a trilogy with Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The three films work off each other beautifully, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is far from a disappointment.The acting is top-notch, with cameos from Park Chanwook's first two films intermingling with new talent. The directing is superb, not quite eclipsing Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or Oldboy but coming quite close. Park's directing style is solid and distinctive; he builds off earlier films and ideas to give an air of intensity surrounding the most innocent of scenes.

SFLV cuts back on the violence and focuses on personal turmoil, a welcome change from the beginning of his revenge trilogy. My favorite elements of this movie are the use of flashbacks to tell the witty, yet complicated story, and that the film sticks to its theme of vengeance with a die-hard, unwavering dedication. The only thing holding back from a perfect score is a slow ending, one which is necessary to bring the trilogy to a close but still slightly treading.

All in all, this film represents a master finishing his masterpiece, should be viewed by everyone, and works perfectly as a separate film and not a piece of a trilogy. Violence is minimal compared to Park's first two films, but is graphic. "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is one of the few films that will make people cry not out of sadness but out of love.
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on 9 December 2006
Having seen "Old Boy" and read some plot summaries of this movie, I was expecting something outlandishly gory. It is, in fact, anything but and all the better for it. I see a lot of our own Peter Greenaway in Park's film, the use throughout of haunting barroque music, of carefully composed scenes and symbolic, colour combinations, especially red and white. It also deals with an important moral dilemma, if your child had been killed and you had a chance to mete revenge personally on the murderer or turn him over to justice what would you do? This is the choice Lady V offers to the grieving relatives and their different reactions are essential to the film's impact. Last but not least, the film is shot through with a deep, sad yearning for unattainable spiritual purity and clenliness.
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on 17 October 2006
In dissent to other reviews, I propose this as the superior part of the vengence trilogy. It is not a film intending to surprise or confuse, and has a straightforwardness not unlike Tarantino's, equally matched by stylistic flare. The message also is more subtle perhaps than the plot of the other two films, and is a little focussed not just on the protagonists views about vengeance, but also the world's view. In this, and in the theme of the film, and indeed in the denoument, the film owes a lot to Fritz Lang's M, with a modern pace, but not the frantic action required of the demented and inane. Violence and pain are a part of the film, but played in the Alienesque what-you-don't-see manner that conveys much more brutality than the more obvious approach in the other two films. i had anticipated something along the lines of Takashi Miike's Audition (disturbing in itself and decidedly excellent to boot), but this is played on a different level where the agonising build up that sets Miike's climax so jarring is in this made beautiful, whilst the torture is lingering off camera.

The final reflection must be cinematographic. The subtle blend of costume, character, lighting and CG make this an outstandingly beautiful film, and another one that is for owning, not for renting.
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on 13 February 2007
lady vengeance is the third film in director park chon-wooks vengeance triology and what a beauty it is,this film takes the act of vengeance away from the man and puts it in the hands of a gentile woman called miss guem-ja who after spending thirtheen years in prison for the abduction and murder of a little boy decides that she has held the truth away for too long and wants revenge on the real culprit,but it wont be easy,but through her time in prison she acted as a model prisoner and made lots of friends who now released as well can each help her in their own way.

The film is very graceful in places as the mother/daughter story is quite poignant and the lead character is a lady of both demonic and heartfelt actions but the revenge scene here isnt what you might think,there is a different way of looking at it which raises questions,i will say no more other than this is asian cinema at its most original and violent and worthy of attention,brilliant.
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on 8 November 2006
If you're a fan of Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Oldboy, I would urge you to watch this film. Equally as challenging, disturbing and beautiful as the first 2 films, Chan-wook Park yet again pushes the boundaries of film making. No mistaking this makes for very uneasy viewing, tackling some really sensitive issues, starting slowly, gradually building to a harrowing finale. I disagree with other reviewers that this film is disappointing. In many ways it does have a very different feel to the other Vengeance films, but I believe that's a strength. Park has taken a single theme and woven three very distinct and different films. Inevitably you'll have your own favourites, but it's refreshing to see something which is thematically so far removed from our predominantly sterile and predictable western fayre. Always a good idea to rent first, and then decide whether you want to buy. Don't be put off by negative reviews, you might be missing out!
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A well composed film, unwrapping itself within a series of distinct layers as familiar themes from the previous films arise - the selling of kidneys, children being murdered, kidnapping, ransom, black plastic bags on the head but with another flourish - female revenge.

A tale of a woman who was forced into confession for a crime of child killing and the film unravels in segments from this point. Prison life is portrayed in a series of graphic vignettes, in particular the bullying within the regime and its impact upon the occupants. Then there is the main character, ice bound bent on her particular desire for recompense for the years she has lost. Rather than take someone who is low in life, the film travels into the middle class sense of aspiration, looking at the social and human cost. Then it asks some questions about what lies beneath the veneer.

Beautifully composed film shots, laced with a melancholia that runs like a gushing vein throughout towards the final shots as it releases its internal pain. A sad laconic film based upon memories, greed, gain and loss.

For me it lacked the punch and twist of Mr. Venegeance and loses a star in comparison, but compared to everything else this sails far far above and is worth being transfixed by a deep Korean introspection upon the world people inhabit.
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