Adam Stovall Selects • Action, Adventure, Drama
2003 · South Korea · Directed by Park Chan-wook
Often cited as one of the best films of the 2000s and possibly the definitive example of extreme Asian cinema, 'Oldboy' is a brutal, lyrical modern classic of the revenge genre.
Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, the film tells the horrific tale of Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), a businessman who is inexplicably kidnapped and imprisoned in a grim hotel room-like cell for 15 years, without knowing his captor or the reason for his incarceration. Eventually released, he learns of his wife's murder and embarks on a quest for revenge whilst also striking up a romance with a young, attractive sushi chef, Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung). He eventually finds his tormentor, but their final encounter will yield yet more unimaginable horrors...
Directed with immense flair by Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden) as the second instalment of his Vengeance Trilogy, Oldboy blazed a trail at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival where it was lauded by the President of the Jury, director Quentin Tarantino. The film went on to become a huge international smash, blowing audiences minds with its concoction of filmmaking virtuosity, ingenious plotting, violence and pathos.