Director: Chan-wook Park
Writers: Garon Tsuchiya (story), Nobuaki Minegishi (comic)
Cast : Min-sik Choi, Ji-Tae Yoo, Hye-jeong Kang
Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery
Oldboy might be a cliche and an obvious choice for analysis. But let’s see what are the reasons for it being loved and hated by many. Oldboy is one of the first foreign films that broadened my horizons and started my love story with Foreign Films. I was mindblown after watching it. At a younger age, I had often thought that the best films were made in Hollywood, or maybe even in France or some other grand European Country. But the truth is, the best films can be made anywhere and the best is always subjective and ever-changing. Today, I believe the best film is one you haven’t seen yet. That’s one of the core reasons why I started this platform.
Disclaimer: Oldboy is an amazing story and film, that is not intended for kids, and for the faint-hearted. Steer clear if you fall in these categories. It’s violent, bloody and a rollercoaster of emotions. For the love of God and all/any higher powers you believe in, steer clear of its English remake as well.
If you haven’t watched a lot of foreign films, you will definitely be swept away by this one. It definitely opened up a Pandora’s box of films that I have appreciated because I realized then, there are much better stuff and stories than what mainstream Disney and Hollywood are selling you. Oldboy is not the cliche. Mainstream Hollywood films, mindless remakes and reboots are the cliches. Films like Oldboy respect the viewers intelligence, taste, tolerance, and take you for a ride. These films question our reality, morality and make you ask existential questions like: is there right or wrong or is it all in our heads? The main character Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is kidnapped and imprisoned for a very long time. We see how the prison life of Dae-Su is through the frames. We along with Dae-su try to find out why he was imprisoned and who imprisoned him. We also see Dae-Su writing in a book, recollecting all the bad deeds he had done till that point, even the very minor ones and to whom, trying to figure out who is punishing him so badly. After 15 years in the private prison, Dae-Su is finally released. Watch the film to find out why and who imprisoned Dae-Su. Will Dae-Su set out to take revenge and avenge his captor? Why was Dae-Su imprisoned in the first place?
All these questions are answered in the movie.
Oldboy is an excellent mix of genres including Mystery, Drama, Thriller and Action. It’s not one of your everyday films which anyone can make with the right budget and film stars. Films like this ‘open your eyes’ [I’ll review this mindblowing Spanish flick later] to films/movies as an art form supported by excellent writers, cinematographers, auteurs, directors, actors [not superstars] etc.
The Plot is simple but executed extremely well, the characters are well written, the story keeps you gripped till the end and it makes you think about it, even after the credits roll. Films like these are where the cast and crew can perform to a limit which is not conventionally expected of them. In the end, you may either love Oldboy, or hate Oldboy but you simply can’t ignore it.
“Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone”
Verdict: 7/7 stars.