Oldboy (2003)

Park Chan-wooks masterpiece from 2003 tells the dramatic story of a man who is being locked into a hotel room for 15 years without knowing why, and his motif for revenge. 

Oldboy is a magical movie, the second installement in his legendary “Vengeance” trilogy. Park Chan-wook really experiments with genres and movie conventions to make a beautiful piece of cinema. Oldboy is based on an old japanese manga with the same name from the 1990s.


Let’s start off with the acting, in the lead role we have Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su. The man who gets kidnapped and put in a sealed hotel room for 15 years, the acting of this man is brilliant. He learns that his wife has been murdered and he is the prime suspect and he is now hell bent on revenge against whoever put him there. In supporting roles we have Yoo Ji-tae as the films villain and Kang Hye-jung plays Oh Dae-sus love interest and is the most interesting character in the film.


Park Chan-wook knows how to make movies about Vengeance, he knows it better than anyone and Oldboy was ranked as one of the best movies in South Korean history for a reason, even though I prefer The Handmaiden we can’t get away from the fact that Oldboy is incredible. Unlike other revenge films that usually try to gross the viewer out, Oldboy takes us on a deep dive into the psychology of a human being bent on revenge.

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But to properly talk about how great a Park Chan-wook movie is, we have to talk about the technical parts and let’s begin with the directing. Park Chan-wook makes Oldboy a movie that holds a knife to your throat, the violence is in its own way beautiful and astonishing to look at. It is bloody, it’s brutal and it is taking us down to places of the human mind we may not want to visit. Park has this talent on getting the viewers hooked from the first second and when he has his hooks in you he won’t let go.


Oldboy must be seen, it is an incredibly hard film to describe objectivly by words, it feels like an old greek tragedy. It is almost operatic. The cinematography is done by Parks old friend Chung Chung-hoon who has done the cinematography on pretty much every movie he has made. Chung-hoon has this unique talent of making every single frame look so astonishing, combined with Kim Sang-bums special touch when it comes to editing and the result is one of the most emotional rollercoaster rides of all time.


Korea provides some of the most exciting thrillers in cinema these days, and that is alot thanks to the brilliance of Park Chan-wook. Oldboy is a nice movie to begin with if you want to explore this brilliant mind and if you have a weak spot for thrilling vengeance films with beautiful violence. Oldboy is a sadistic masterpiece of a movie that will give the person who is watching it the time of his/her life.

Score: 9/10



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