Dir: Park Chan-Wook | South Korea 120′
Many found Korean cult horror outing ‘Sympathy for Mr Vengeance’ too violent, but Oldboy takes the Asian Extreme genre even further.
Don’t be misled into thinking this is about public school boys or even dapper English gents of a certain age. Although on the surface of it, businessman Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), appears just to be a drunken old bore. We first meet him being mysteriously abducted and imprisoned by nameless villains until he’s released from captivity after nearly 15 years, only to be contacted by his captors and offered a deal: if he can fathom why he was held prisoner in the first place he will get a chance to avenge his captors – if not, the cocktail waitress he has recently starting dating will lose her life. Some price freedom, but Oh Dat-Su is not going to put up with any more threats. Hammer in hand, he embarks on a brutal killing spree fuelled by vehement anger and searing emotional pain. Choi Min-Sik is retribution personified in an extraordinary performance that ranges from abject fury punctuated by bouts of seething humiliation – and we feel for him – aided and abetted by Park’s masterful direction. In the Asian Extreme firmament this is a coruscating Hitchockian-style Neo-Noir. MT
NOW OUT ON RE-RELEASE from Friday