Reviews

Old Boy

4

"I thought I'd lived an average life, but I have sinned a lot," begins this astounding, bloody tale of revenge, octopus-bothering and bodily mutilation.

Kidnapped and held in solitary confinement for 15 years by an unknown aggressor, narrator Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) eventually escapes to cut a bloody swathe through the Seoul underworld in search of the man who did him wrong. Apparently revenge is a dish best served disembowelled: tongues are snipped with scissors, eyeballs are gouged out and a claw hammer is used to pull teeth. The violence becomes a sadistic slapstick - - The Three Stooges filtered through Kill Bill and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.

Nabbing the jury prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival, Park Chan-wook's follow up to his overlooked Sympathy For Mr Vengeance impresses with its operatic tone. Don't try to untangle the improbably convoluted plot; just marvel at the exhilarating set-pieces, like the single-take corridor fight sequence in which Dae-su butts heads with an endless stream of enemies.

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