June 22, 2009

MOVIE: Old Boy 올드보이

"Even though I am no more than a monster - don't I have the right to live too?"
-Oh Dae-Su

Old Boy(올드보이) is a movie of relentless action that would keep you gripping the edge of your seats till your knuckles turned white and then bam!the ending would leave you speechless and in awe.

Basically that is what I felt after going through the film one gloomy Saturday night. I have read various reviews on this film and all were praises. So, I decided to check this one out. Considering it bagged the Grand Prix award during the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and has received such high praise from then President of the Jury, director Quentin Tarantino(Kill Bill,Death Proof/Grindhouse) and also has been nominated for the highest award Palme d'Or(just lost to Fahrenheit 9/11), I sincerely think this movie is qualified for my time.

So, let's start the film rolling shall we? The film starts off with a rather overweight Oh Dae-Su,drunk and running amok in the police station. He was bailed out by his friend Joo-hwan. It was Dae-Su's daughter's birthday that day. He talks to her on the phone and promised her that he would be back to give her the angel wings he promised. After Joo-hwan took his turn to talk to the daughter on the phone and turned to look at Dae-Su, Dae-Su was suddenly nowhere to be seen.

The next scenes show an imprisoned Dae-Su. With no communication to the outside world and only being fed fried dumplings being pushed on a small rectangular hole in the bottom of the door, he was already in utter disbelief and confused as to why he is there.

"If they had told me it was going to be fifteen years, would it have been easier to endure? "
-Oh Dae-Su

TV became his friend, his lover and companion. Years ticked slowly. One year,2 years,3 years...All events-tragic and jubilant-left Dae-Su behind. Still in the dark four walls that surround him. There were times when he wanted to commit suicide, always on the verge of hallucination and madness, but he would be gassed unconscious. He found out - still through the ever-present television- that his wife was murdered, his daughter sent to foster parents and he was the murder suspect. He had to get out was the only thing that kept ringing in his ears and he began to plan for his escape. He tattooed himself by etching lines using a bed spring - a line each year that passed. As his chopsticks grew short, the bigger the hole he made on the wall in his room.11,12,13...and finally 15 years. And he was released.Suddenly.

He wanted revenge. And wanted answer to that question that haunted him all those years - "Who imprisoned me?". As Dae-Su searches for the answer, he met a young chef of Japanese cuisine called Mido. After he fainted in the restaurant, Mido took him in and helped him. A voice on the phone told him he only had 5 days to find the person responsible for his imprisonment or Mido will die. Little by little, Dae-Su was able to find out the accomplices to his imprisonment and cold-bloodedly extracted revenge - one after another.

To cut the narrative short, he was successful in finding the man responsible. But here comes the sudden twist in the story. The important question was never "Who?". He was asking himself the wrong question all those time. The question was supposed to be "Why?".The secret to knowing the right answer lies in formulating the right question. And bam! Dae-Su is staggered when he found out the answer to "Why?". So much so that he momentarily darts from violence to raw cowering kinda fear to madness and back again.

I would not spill out spoilers this time. I want you to find out and experience the raw,unchecked emotions that palpitates from the screen. Choi Min-Sik absolutely deserves a standing ovation. Going through everthing he has gone through and being shoved in the face with the truth that stabbed you more painfully than a knife, how would you go through your life?

Revenge is good for your health, but pain will find you again.
-Oh Dae-Su

Credits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldboy for the image

1 comment:

  1. i will watch this... i have planned to watch this since 2007... wahahaha