Saturday, September 14, 2013


I’ve been meaning to see Oldboy for the last six years or so. I first saw a copy of the dvd at Blockbuster probably back in 2006 or 2007. At the time, I think I had other movies that I wanted to rent first, so I postponed Oldboy for a later trip. The next time, the copy was out of stock. So was the week after that. Apparently, there was only one copy of it at the store, and it was a popular cult classic. It didn’t help that my depression hit around this time, and that I lost interest in most movies. So, I didn’t see Oldboy and I kind of just forgot about it.

Then I recently stopped off at Moviestop (a used dvd and bluray store) and lo and behold, there was Oldboy… and it was on sale! Well, I figured that the time was right, and I bought it. And now I’ve seen it.

So, did it live up to the long wait? I should mention first that when I wanted to watch it back in high school, I didn’t really know anything about it (other than the fact that it was a South Korean film).  Let me say that Oldboy is one of a small handful of films that made me feel quite disturbed after viewing them, with The Road, Seven, and A Clockwork Orange at the top of the list (the only film I’d recommend out of those three would be The Road). There are scenes of tongues getting chopped off, teeth being pulled, and squid being eaten alive. It’s not exactly A Wonderful Life.

So, what’s good about Oldboy? Well, the storytelling and pacing are top-notch. The plot is basically that an ordinary Korean man has been imprisoned for 15 years for what appears to be literally no reason. After his eventual release, the only thing on his mind is vengeance. The movie reminds me a bit of Memento, with mysteries lurking in every shadow of the film. Oldboy also hides a cruelly ingenious twist at the end, which blew my mind.

The main problem I have with Oldboy is that is seems to be part of a larger affliction of Hollywood and current moviemaking in general. I call it The Dark Knight Syndrome. Where everything is just dark, brooding, and leaves you feeling like crap (of course, I actually love The Dark Knight). Still, Oldboy’s grip will command your attention until the very last frame.

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