Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

Oldboy – 2003

Oldboy movie poster

Imprisoned against his will for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su (Min-Sik Choi) is finally free and almost instantly comes into possession of a mobile phone, money and designer clothes, but why?

Following his shocking welcome back into the real world, ‘Dae-Su is told he has 5 days to work everything out  and have his vengeance or he faces dire consequences.

Chan-wook Park’s mystery thriller is an intense journey of one man as he strives to find those responsible and have his bittersweet retribution.


Mystery/thrillers usually consist of a plethora of clues and hints when watched closely enough, “Oldboy” however is extremely hard to read, and overall it is much better for it. Dae-Su goes through his journey not trusting anyone, and that’s precisely what the audience does; with it’s subtle dialogue, clever cinematography to enhance tension and intricate plot twists throughout, “Oldboy” truly delivers as one of the great thrill-rides of recent times.

The story of revenge is not an old one, it’s arguably the most interesting and entertaining story to watch unfold. The idea of one man embarking on an odyssey to ultimately have their rightful vengeance is empowering, enthralling and extremely exciting. Revenge stories seem to generate the most passion within an audience, perhaps it’s due to the feeling of unity one has with the determined and vindictive protagonist, or simply the power of anticipation; revenge immediately tells the audience that something immense will come of the hero’s past traumas and ordeals.

No matter how one looks at it, “Oldboy” is the classic revenge story, but with a new take. The element of self-discovery is thrown into the mix and adds extensive tension and drama to the piece.

“Oldboy” has recently been remade in Hollywood, and judging by it’s ‘direct to DVD’ status and awful ratings online, it seems have absolutely nothing on the original.

aue Chan-wook Park Oldboy Old Boy DVD Review UE5

The film is graphic and gritty with its violent nature, the fighting scenes at times are questionable, but one scene stands above all else for one of the most realistic fight scenes seen in a while. Although the idea of one man with a hammer taking on a group of 20 men and walking away having defeated them all sounds doubtful, the continuous tracking shot depicting Dae-Su taking down these men is achieved so realistically and un-stylised, its mesmerising.

Masterfully crafted down to the very last detail in every last shot, “Oldboy” is a shockingly divine thrill ride from start to finsh. The evolution of Oh Dae-Su and the outstanding performances for the other cast members really drive home what is an already superbly developed film. Unlike many mysteries, “Oldboy” doesn’t give it away prematurely, the timing of everything is fantastic and its brilliant to see such a great story not go to waist as a result.

The cherry on top of the cake however is Dae-Su’s devouring of a live octopus, a genuine display of commitment.


Recommended By Lukas Persson


2 comments on “Oldboy – 2003

  1. Banna
    June 2, 2014

    dope flick, refuse to watch the US remake

    • wmsteele
      June 2, 2014

      Totally agree!
      Looked awful! Lazy and money hungry, no originality whatsoever

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This entry was posted on March 4, 2014 by in International Cinema, Recommended Films and tagged , , , .
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