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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 32 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
VINE VOICEon 29 May 2006
Old Boy is a startling Korean film that caused quite a stir when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003. After a drunken night of michief making, a man wakes up imprisoned in a room with no idea why or who is holding him. He is released 15 years later to discover he is the prime suspect in his wifes murder. He is given a mobile phone and a wallet full of cash and begins the task of tracking down his captors to solve the riddle of his incarceration.

The film is visually breathtaking with wonderfully shot scenes. The scene which stands out the most is a 2 minute continuous shot of Oh Dae-Su taking on dozens of thugs in a cramped corridor armed with nothing but his fists and a claw hammer. Its so stylish that you can understand why Tarantino named it as one of his favourite films.

It can be a little confusing but give it a chance and treat yourself to one of the finest pieces of Asian cinema in 2003.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2006
I really can't be bothered to go in too deep with my review - I'm tired!
But for those who like intriguing, clever, disgusting and genious movies should really watch this! It does push the limit a little in places, so you have to be prepared for that.
The film has little things to pick at, but to be honest I didn't bother thinking like that because I found the plot truly interesting (if disturbing) and the visual delights way too good to ignore.
This is Asian Extreme to its best! Highly recommended.
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on 17 February 2007
I enjoyed this movie and the 1 hour 50 minutes flew by. I was engrossed throughout however I did find myself getting lost acouple of times but I did manage to find my way back into the plot. The lead character is frustrating at times but that is a credit to the plot and his excellent acting and that of the support acting aswell. It is a Korean movie based upon the theme of revenge. One ordinary, self assured citizen is taken prisoner and locked inside a single room for 15 years for apparently no reason. The movie then focuses on the period outside of prison and looks at the prisoners attempt to discover his captor and most importantly why he was imprisoned. The whole motivation of the movie is to try and get the viewer to cram themselves into the perspective of someone whose whole life is centralised upon revenge. They live for revenge. I think the movie does an excellent job of doing just that.

It is gritty and unwholesome, perverse and disturbing and the acting is exceptional. It is a martial arts movie in the weakest of dilution. There are about two fight scenes in nearly a 2 hour movie. One of those fight scenes is marvelous and portayed with human flawed realism. In this scene the main character battles his way through a corridor of vilainous characters.

One of the themes that the movie keeps returning to is a quote that is on a picture on the wall of the man's prison that reads 'laugh and the whole world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone'. This stays with the lead man throughout and as a result there is a dark humour that simmers on the general disturbing portrayal of revenge.

I would recommend this film to anyone who likes their movies to have a gripping plot, a thriller, to lay bare raw human emotions and just a splash of action.

This wasn't the greatest movie ever but I am glad I watched it.
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on 1 September 2011
The climax to the plot of this film has to rank as one of the most messed up ideas ever conceived on celluloid. Seriously it causes the lead character to cut out his own tounge and crawl around on the floor like a dog!? I nearly did the same thing in my living room such was my utter bewilderment at how: a)anybody could come up with such a plot for a motion picture and b)having been pitched the plot of the movie why anybody would actually turn it into a film. That's not to say it's a bad climax to the film it's just SERIOUSLY messed up.

Leading up to the forementioned ending I found this to be a pretty engrossing affair, the fact that you're put in with the lead character from the start and follow his attempts to make sense of what has happened to him/ what is happening to him leads you to develop an urgent empathatic desire for there to a be a resolution to the story. Theres also enough snippets of action to appease the average hong kong cinema junkie whilst Chan-Wook Park also adds french cinemographic aestheticism for those seeking something more cultured from proceedings. Definately worth a view, just resist the temptation to cut out your own tounge hey?;)
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A brilliant looking film (fans of Tarantino and Ridley Scott will be in heaven) with a script full of originality and all held together with some great performances - you'll forget about the subtitles within a minute of the start titles. The story revolves around Dae-su Oh, a big time loser who is kidnapped, imprisoned for 15 years and then released to solve the mystery of his incarceration and the identity of his nemesis. Very different in humour and style to Japanese thrillers and reminded me more of some contemporary French cinema. Apparently there's a Hollywood remake in the offing but I can't see much of the story being acceptable to the American public so they'd need to sweeten it up and that would make it a different film altogether.
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on 6 June 2006
Compelling from the outset this is a must-see, not just for fans of Korean cinema but for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Oh Dae-Su has been imprisoned for 15 years without knowing why or even who his jailer is. On his release he is given just a few days to find out and you want to know just as much.

With several gruesome scenes that literally left me hiding behind my hands it's fair to say that this is not for those with a weak stomach although there are also some good comic moments.

This is a riveting watch which has you gripped right from the start, keeps your interest all the way through and doesn't disappoint at the end.
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on 18 March 2005
A man is imprisoned inexplicably in a room for 15 years by an unknown captor who films and watches his every living moment, before finally releasing him into society and allowing him five days to discover the truth. This awesome premise is given life through the director's formidable style and taught camera work, flourishes of violence and a central performance so amazing it makes many Oscar winning actors pale significantly in comparison. As somebody who has seen more than his fair share of subtitled films, this complex and gripping Korean thriller was still a bit of a struggle (I found myself rewinding bits just to read certain subtitles again), yet I still came away impressed (and thoroughly humbled by the shock twist) and felt I had watched something quite special. It's a dark tale, with a fantastic visual sheen to it, but I can understand it not being to some peoples taste - the live squid eating scene was as nasty and disgusting as I had heard - yet I feel also this is as important a film as you are likely to see from a foreign country, with more intelligence than almost anything you may see in the mainstream.
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on 9 September 2009
Park Chan-Wook's OLDBOY:
Tartan Asia Extreme - 2 Disc Special Edition.
Disc 1:
- Director's Commentary.
- Director & Cinematographer's Commentary.
- Director & Cast Commentary.
- New & Improved English Subtitles.
- Original Theatrical Trailer.
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
- Dolby Digital-EX 5.1 Surround.
- DTS-ES Digital Surround 6.1
Disc 2:
- Five Behind the Scenes Documentaries:
-- Making the Film - The Cast Remembers;
-- Production Design;
-- The Music Score;
-- CGI Documentary;
-- Flashback
- Featurette - Le Grand Prix at Cannes.
- 10 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary.
- Tartan Exclusive Director Interview by Mark Salisbury.
- Cast & Crew Interviews.
Plus... Booklet.
A splendid package for a truly remarkable film.
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on 5 June 2013
Oldboy can be defined as one thing. Totally surreal . It is crazy, violent, sometimes completely bonkers but always engaging and exhilarating with some blackly comic moments. The story of a man randomly, (seemingly), imprisoned for 15 years and then just as randomly released onto a roof top, this story just gets more and more bizarre as it goes on.

There are some real moments of out there genius mixed in with some gut wrenching violence and yuk moments. Dae-su doesn't know who or why this has been done to him and he seeks his revenge. Slowly piecing clues together and tracking down the people involved only to find it all harks back to one fateful moment in his childhood.

Dae-su is not a particularly likeable character. Nothing he has done or does do is very endearing but he is eminently watchable. His slow breakdown and then his rise from the ashes only to be completely destroyed again is something to behold. It is quite harrowing to witness.

All this leads to one of the most shocking revelations in recent memory. All that has gone before only serves to heighten it's impact. You may well have an idea of where it is leading before the final confrontation, but even so it doesn't fail to hit it's mark. A tale of vengeance from both the good and the bad guys, Oldboy cleverly mixes the two perspectives so it is not as straight forward as most revenge stories.

A mad, bad, gloriously surreal film which will leave its mark on you.
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on 25 March 2006
As it says on the box, this film will leave unsure of how to react!
Watching this will wear you out, it's so powerful, fast, exciting and action packed. I loved it, has a good balance of humour, violence (beautifully choreographed) twists and turns.
You may guess the twists before it ends but no one could guess who it would end, just thinking about it makes me want to watch it again.
Oh-Dae Su is fantastic, you sympathise with him, locked in a room for years for no reason, with only a set time to work things out and when he does......phew!
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