Old Boy

Old Boy


The film won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and high praise from the president of the jury, director Quentin Tarantino. The film has received widespread acclaim in the United States, with film critic Roger Ebert stating that Oldboy is a "powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare".[6] It also received praise for its action sequences, most notably the single shot corridor fight sequence.[7]

Old Boy

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It has been regarded as one of the best films of all time and listed among the best films of the 2000s in several publications.[8] The film has had two remakes, an unauthorised 2006 Hindi film and a 2013 American film. The film is the second installment of Park's The Vengeance Trilogy, preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and followed by Lady Vengeance (2005).

In 1988, businessman Oh Dae-su is arrested for drunkenness, missing his daughter's fourth birthday. After his friend Joo-hwan picks him up from the police station, Dae-su is kidnapped and wakes up in a sealed hotel room, where food is delivered through a pet door. Dae-su learns that his wife has been murdered and that he has been framed as a prime suspect by his captors. As years of imprisonment pass, Dae-su hallucinates, grows deranged from solitude, and eventually attempts suicide. While unconscious after slashing his wrists, Dae-su is resuscitated and bandaged, prevented from dying in order to ensure that he continues to live in agony. After this, Dae-su passes the time practicing shadowboxing and attempting to dig an escape tunnel in order to seek vengeance against his captors.

In 2003, Dae-su is suddenly released after being sedated and hypnotized. Dae-su wakes up and, after testing his fighting skills on a group of thugs, a mysterious beggar gives him money and a cell phone. Dae-su enters a sushi restaurant where he meets Mi-do, a young chef. He receives a taunting phone call from his captor, collapses, and is taken in by Mi-do. Dae-su attempts to leave Mi-do's apartment, but Mi-do, now interested in Dae-su, stops him. They reconcile and begin to form a bond. After he recovers, Dae-su attempts to find his daughter, but gives up on trying to contact her after learning she was adopted after his kidnapping. Now focused on identifying his captors, Dae-su locates the Chinese restaurant that made his prison food and finds the prison by following a deliveryman.

Dae-su learns the hotel he was held in is a private prison, where people pay to have others incarcerated. He tortures and interrogates the warden, Mr. Park Cheol-woong, who divulges that Dae-su was imprisoned for "talking too much". Mr. Park's guards come to attack Dae-su, and they fight fiercely in the hotel corridor; Dae-su is stabbed but manages to defeat all of them. Dae-su's captor is revealed to be a wealthy businessman named Lee Woo-jin. Woo-jin gives him an ultimatum: if Dae-su can uncover the motive for his imprisonment within five days, Woo-jin will kill himself; otherwise, he will kill Mi-do. Dae-su and Mi-do get close and have sex. Meanwhile, Joo-hwan tries to contact Dae-su with important information, but is murdered by Woo-jin. Dae-su eventually recalls that he and Woo-jin went to the same high school, and that he witnessed Woo-jin committing incest with his own sister. Dae-su told Joo-hwan what he saw, which led to his classmates gossiping about it. Rumors spread and Woo-jin's sister committed suicide, leading a grief-stricken Woo-jin to seek revenge. In the present, Woo-jin cuts off Mr. Park's hand, leading Mr. Park and his gang to join forces with Dae-su. Dae-su leaves Mi-do with Mr. Park and sets out to face Woo-jin.

At Woo-jin's penthouse, he shows Dae-su a purple box containing a family album containing photos of Dae-su, his wife, and his infant daughter together from years ago, progressing to show how his daughter grew up. Woo-jin then reveals that Mi-do is actually Dae-su's daughter, and that he had orchestrated everything, using hypnosis to guide Dae-su to the restaurant so he and Mi-do would fall in love, so that Dae-su would experience the same pain of incest that he did. Woo-jin reveals that Mr. Park is still working for him and threatens to tell the truth to Mi-do. Dae-su apologizes for being the source of the rumor that caused the death of Woo-jin's sister, and humiliates himself by imitating a dog and begging. When Woo-jin is unimpressed, Dae-su cuts out his own tongue as a sign of penance. Woo-jin finally accepts Dae-su's apology and tells Mr. Park to hide the truth from Mi-do. He then drops the device he claims is the remote to his pacemaker and walks away. Dae-su activates the device in an attempt to kill Woo-jin, only to find it is actually a remote for loudspeakers, which play an audio recording of Dae-su and Mi-do having sex. As Dae-su collapses in despair, Woo-jin enters the elevator, where he recalls his sister's suicide and kills himself by handgun.

Some time later, Dae-su finds the hypnotist and asks her to erase his knowledge of Mi-do being his daughter so that they can stay happy together. To persuade her, he repeats the question he heard from the man on the rooftop, and the hypnotist agrees. Afterward, Mi-do finds Dae-su lying in snow, but there are no signs of the hypnotist. Mi-do confesses her love for him and the two embrace. Dae-su breaks into a wide smile, which is slowly replaced by a more ambiguous expression.

The corridor fight scene took seventeen takes in three days to perfect and was one continuous take; there was no editing of any sort except for the knife that was stabbed in Oh Dae-su's back, which was computer-generated imagery.

The final scene's snowy landscape was filmed in New Zealand.[13] The ending is deliberately ambiguous, and the audience is left with several questions: specifically, how much time has passed, if Dae-su's meeting with the hypnotist really took place, whether he successfully lost the knowledge of Mi-do's identity, and whether he will continue his relationship with Mi-do. In an interview with Park (included with the European release of the film), he says that the ambiguous ending was deliberate and intended to generate discussion; it is completely up to each individual viewer to interpret what isn't shown.

Oldboy received generally positive reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 81% based on 151 reviews with an average rating of 7.40/10. The site's consensus is "Violent and definitely not for the squeamish, Park Chan-Wook's visceral Oldboy is a strange, powerful tale of revenge."[14] Metacritic gives the film an average score of 77 out of 100, based on 32 reviews.[15]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars. Ebert remarked: "We are so accustomed to 'thrillers' that exist only as machines for creating diversion that it's a shock to find a movie in which the action, however violent, makes a statement and has a purpose."[6] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three out of four stars, saying that it "isn't for everyone, but it offers a breath of fresh air to anyone gasping on the fumes of too many traditional Hollywood thrillers."[16]

In 2008, Oldboy was placed 64th on an Empire list of the top 500 movies of all time.[26] The same year, voters on CNN named it one of the ten best Asian films ever made.[27] It was ranked #18 in the same magazine's "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" in 2010.[28] In a 2016 BBC poll, critics voted the film the 30th greatest since 2000.[29] In 2020, The Guardian ranked it number 3 among the classics of modern South Korean Cinema.[30]

More parallels with Greek tragedy include the fact that Lee Woo-jin looks relatively young as compared to Oh Dae-su when they are supposed to be contemporaries at school, which makes Lee Woo-jin look like an immortal Greek god whereas Oh Dae-su is merely an aged mortal. Indeed, throughout the movie Lee Woo-jin is portrayed as an obscenely rich young man who lives in a lofty tower and is omnipresent due to having planted listening devices on Oh Dae-Su and others, which again furthers the parallel between his character and the secrecy of Greek gods.Mido, who throughout the movie comes across as a strong-willed, young and innocent girl, which is not too far from Sophocles' Antigone, Oedipus' daughter, who, though she does not commit incest with her father, remains faithful and loyal to him which reminds us of the bittersweet ending where Mido reunites with Oh Dae-Su and takes care of him in the wilderness (cf. Oedipus at Colonus, another Sophocles play about Oedipus). Another interesting character is the hypnotist, who, apart from being able to hypnotise people, also has the power to make people fall in love (e.g.

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