May 29, 2010

#081: Oldboy (9/10)

When this film first started, I was worried that it would be extremely cheesy and campy.  That isn't always a bad thing, but it wasn't what I was hoping for with Oldboy.  After the brief intro the film turned into something much more gritty.  I was hooked. Oldboy is one of the best all-around films I have seen for a while.  It has a very stylized artistic feel, yet remains fun and entertaining from beginning to end.  The story can get pretty confusing, but it really paid off.  I am looking forward to watching Oldboy again.  A very solid 9 out of 10.

Oldboy works on so many levels.  While watching it I was totally wrapped up in the cinematography, action, and  following the plot.  It is one of those films where I forget about trying to be critical, and just enjoy the movie. Only afterward did I begin to think about the deeper aspects of the film.

For me, it was all about knowledge. We are always on a quest for knowledge. We consume the world around us, and try to learn from what we take in.  Dae-su was imprisoned for 15 years, yet he had a television to connect him to the outside world.  He was able to absorb so much knowledge, yet his re-entrance into the world came with a certain naivety. As we follow his quest to understand what everything meant, we have that same sense of ignorance that he does.  I really enjoyed how well we could identify with what he was feeling.  It was really well handled.  We felt so happy for him when we saw him develop this new love that almost made his suffering worthwhile.  This caused the ending to impact us with such force.  There is a lot of other things that you could grab onto with Oldboy, and I am not trying to tell you what the single driving force behind the film is.  I had no knowledge of the film when I started watching, and I think that is the best way to go into it.

I am really looking forward to revisiting this film.  I rarely want to watch a film a second time so soon after my initial viewing.  I think Oldboy will be very rewarding the second time around.  It is beautifully shot and I think the film will take on an entirely different tone the next time.  If you haven't seen Oldboy I would definitely recommend checking it out.  Let me know what you thought.  It might take you a little bit of time to ease into it, but I think it will pay off for most film lovers. 

I will leave you with a couple of quotes from the film.   

 "Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Weep, and you weep alone."

 "Be it a rock or a grain of sand, in water they sink as the same."
is a 2003 Korean film that tells the story of Dae-su, a man who has been kidnapped and imprisoned for the last 15 years.  He gets out; bent on getting some answers, and getting revenge. I don't enjoy writing plot summaries, so that is all I will say.  If you want to know more about the film, check out the summary on the imdb page or something. Going into most foreign films I am usually worried about being subjected to an overly stylized film that has a confusing plot and is filled with symbolism.  Oldboy  has a noticeable style, and a fair amount of symbolism, but it is also very accessible and delivers a fun and entertaining story throughout.  The tone of the film is perfect, and the pacing made it very easy to stay engaged.

Filed Under: , ,