Film #18: Oldboy (2003)

aka: 올드보이 (Oldeuboi)
director: Park Chan-wook
language: Korean
length: 115 minutes
watched on: 28 Jun

I think this may be the second or third Park Chan-wook film that I’ve seen. I think I quite like them in general. This is essentially a romp of stylised violence and people doing impossible things that culminates in an incredibly confusing twist ending. I didn’t fully understand it until after the film had finished, if I’m honest. I must have got distracted.

That’s basically it; I can’t think of much else to say about the film. I saw it as completely ridiculous… the whole conspiracy, prison, espionage thing coupled with the over-the-top revenge motive. Probably most interesting was seeing how the guy reacts after he leaves his prison cell for the first time in 15 years, to a changed world.

The twist ending, something to do with hypnosis if I remember rightly, is something that I think was intended to make one want to watch the film again, but I didn’t feel that desire. It just wasn’t quite good enough for that. Oh well, it’s a decent enough action thriller.

I think at the point when I watched this I was still thinking of going to Korea to teach. That ship has since sailed – while this does show me a few good things about the country (besides the violence of the movie itself), I think I just got to worrying that I wouldn’t be able to speak the language, which I don’t know a single word of, while I at least have a few words of Japanese to start me off. It was especially obvious to me after watching this and seeing a Japanese film a week later that I was at least able to glean some meaning from, besides that which I was given by the subtitles. Actually, overall it’s probably just that I would much rather go to Japan than Korea. Anyway, Japan is the current plan… but it’s not till next year.


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