ARCHIVE REVIEW: Oldboy

Oldboy
Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Written by: Jo-yun Hwang, Chun-hyeong Lim, & Chan-wook Park (screenplay, Nobuaki Minegishi (comic)
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Hye-jeong Kang, Ji-tae Yu, and Dae-han Ji

Chan-wook Park makes no secret of his influences.  From Tarantino-esque violence to Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption, this movie’s story and visual style are the cut-up pieces of movies new and old.  Is it a coincidence it came out the same year as Kill Bill?  Someone with a PhD in film studies could probably have a field day, but I was grossed-out and bored.

Oldboy is the kind of movie sold as a visually-stunning thrill-ride that makes you think. Other than keeping up with the fairly simplistic story amid all of the visual prowess, not much thinking really takes place.  People mistake the “gasp!” twist near the ending for actual thematic depth, when in reality the only means to this movie’s end is driving out the memories with a hammer to the head.

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