Asian cinema often produces original and wild creations. The Korean film Oldboy is a brutal, original and incredible blend of film noir, mystery, action, and psychological horror that works on just about every level.

Ordinary businessman Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) is heading home from work for his daughter's birthday, gets drunk, gets arrested, is released from jail -- and is kidnapped and imprisoned in what looks like an ordinary household room. No explanation is given, but Dae-su has a TV (where he learns he was framed for his wife's murder), he's fed the same food over and over, and anytime he tries to escape or kill himself, Dae-su is gassed and kept healthy.

After fifteen years, Dae-su is suddenly released. He meets Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong), an attractive young chef who helps Dae-su.

Dae-su is also given a cell phone from which Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae) claims to have imprisoned Dae-su and gives Dae-su a challenge: If Dae-Su can figure out what happened in five days, Woo-jin will kill himself; if not, Dae-su will die. Thus begins Dae-su's quest for revenge and search for understanding.

Oldboy is an unforgettable movie. The story is compelling, with a finale that is horrifying and fascinating. The action is impressive, neither overly choreographed nor ridiculously over the top. The acting is first-rate all around, especially Min-sik Choi as a once-normal everyman finding himself living a nightmare. Anyone who likes their movies intense and unique should see Oldboy.

Overall grade: A

Reviewed by James Lynch


Chad Cloman said...

You may have a typo in the second sentence, where it says "The Koprean film".

digitaldoc said...

Thanks, fixed.