Oldboy (Oldeuboi) (2005) (R)

Drama 119 March 25, 2005
By Matthew Wilder
A businessman (Min-sik Choi) who was blackjacked while drunk and held captive for 15 years has to locate his jailers, who also murdered his family; with even greater difficulty, he must also rediscover what it is to be a human being. It simply won't do to narrate the plot of this revenge thriller from South Korean master Park Chanwook: At least 51 percent of the movie's power lies in the flabbergasting force of its surprises (not to be confused with twists). I swore I wouldn't mention Quentin Tarantino in relation to Oldboy, but since the subject has been broached in the press about a thousand times, I'll just say that the two have at least one thing in common: a commitment to reanimating the genre film and making it work in emotional terms. In Oldboy, Park quietly inspects the nature of vengeance--and finds its roots in the aggression that produces survival, attracts love, and, as they say at the State Department, ensures a lasting peace. Hurting someone who hurt you: Park doesn't condemn this simply; he maybe doesn't even condemn it at all. But he certainly investigates it in a movie that can sit proudly on the same shelf as John Boorman's Point Blank and Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite. (Matthew Wilder)
Chan-wook Park Choi Min-Sik, Yu Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Dae-han Ji, Seung-Shin Lee, Byeong-ok Kim, Dal-su Oh, Su-hyeon Kim, Seung-jin Lee, Su-kyeong Yun Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyung, Park Chan-wook, Tsuchiya Garon, Minegishi Nobuaki Seung-yong Lim Tartan Films