Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jung, Kim Byeong-ok, Oh Tae-kyung, Ahn Yeon-seok, Woo Il-han, Yoon Jin-seo, Oh Dal-su
One day, for reasons he doesn't understand, Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and imprisoned. After 15 years behind bars, he is released, only to find that he must find his kidnapper in 5 days.
Since many years have passed, I don't remember how I ended up watching this film. But I do remember exactly how I felt while and after watching it, and I can assure you, I feel the same way every single time I watch it. And if I thought it was a good film back then, I do now think it is one of the best films ever made.
Oldboy is a tremendous, intense, dark, brutal, strange, sick, disturbing, raw, yet sweet, humorous, moving, and visionary story of vengeance.
This Korean gem is one of those films that stuck with you, and doesn't really leave you, whether you like it or not. It is memorable both in its violence and its sweetness. Just think of the brutal, choreographic corridor fight scene, the quite disturbing scene in which Choi Min-sik eats the live octopus - he actually did it -, or the scene in the train with the big ant, or the sweet moments of love, that first get stuck in your mind, and then, after the shocking discovery, disturb you and kinda make you feel disgusted.
Park Chan-wook did a wonderful job both at directing and co-writing the screenplay with Hwang Jo-yoon and Im Joon-hyeong, based on the Japanese manga of the same name written by Nobuaki Minegishi (story by Garon Tsuchiya).
If you look beyond the violence, you can see much more: wonderful cinematography, sublime musical score, great plot, and at last, but not least, first class acting.
Choi Min-sik is perfect as the revengeful Oh Dae-su, delivering a powerful and emotional performance, and domination every single scene he is in - basically he is a sort of Korean Patrick Bateman/Christian Bale (American Psycho). All the other characters are very well portrayed by an amazing supporting cast, among which Yoo Ji-tae stands out.
QuotesOh Dae-su: If they had told me it was going to be fifteen years, would it have been easier to endure?
Oh Dae-su: Even though I'm no more than a monster - don't I, too, have the right to live?
Oh Dae-su: Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.
Lee Woo-jin: Remember this: "Be it a rock or a grain of sand, in water they sink as the same."