Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang

Directed by Chan-wook Park
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
March 25, 2005

Admit it: Your local multiplex is a creative dead zone. So line up for Oldboy, an explosively exciting psychosexual revenge drama from Korean powerhouse Park Chanwook (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) that makes movies feel alive again. I won't spill the beans, but know this much: Choi Min-sik is a hell-raising wonder as Oh Dae-su, a skirt-chasing businessman with a wife and daughter who matter less than his next drink. Suddenly, this good oldboy is locked in a hotel room with a TV that tells him he's been accused of his wife's murder. Fifteen years later, Dae-su finds himself in a trunk on a rooftop -- a free man.

At a sushi bar -- in the first of the film's scenes during which the squeamish are meant to duck for cover -- Dae-su chomps down on some live, wiggling squid. The sympathetic young waitress, Mido (Gang Hye-jung in a strikingly vivid performance), takes him home, and he jumps her bones with the same vigor he showed the squid.

In the bloody set pieces that follow, the mystery captor (Yoo Ji-tae) gives Dae-su five days to figure out his identity, setting off a series of rampages that spray the screen with blood and shocking secrets. As always with Park Chanwook, you just hold on and let him rip.

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