Film Review: Oldboy
Mystery and mayhem are the heart and soul of this disturbing drama starring Min-sik Choi as Oh Dae-su, a Korean businessman, husband and father whose life takes an unexpected turn when he is inexplicably imprisoned in a dismal hotel room. As reality slowly sinks in, he comes to accept his fate, and passes the endless days with shadow boxing, sustains himself with the dumplings that appear at his door day after day, and marks time with television and tattoos. In the process, he learns that his wife has been murdered and he is the prime suspect.
After fifteen long years of torment and delirium, he is finally released, crazed and confused, vowing to make sense of it all and to exact revenge on his captor. During his first meal as a free man, Oh Dae-Su is befriended by a beautiful young sushi maker and before long, she is drawn into his quest to unravel the mystery of his captivity. The enigmatic leads and clues recall a long-forgotten incident from his prep school days, as Oh Dae-su discovers that festering grudges fuel the vengeful forces behind a labyrinthine plot that now consumes his life.
Written and directed by Park Chan-wook, Oldboy is loosely based on the Japanese manga of the same name, and is the second in a vengeance trilogy that also includes Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Despite the fact that the film's most compelling plot element was fabricated by Park for the screenplay, it took top honors at the Cannes Film Festival, and won critical acclaim worldwide. Oldboy now appears on many top lists, and although dark and brutal, it is regarded as one of the best Asian films ever made.