By Matthew Riley (England)
Oldboy is unique from plot to soundtrack; delving into depths western cinema would not even dream of going. It requires your undivided attention throughout as it questions human moralities and how far one will go to seek vengeance and keep secrets under wraps. The plot twist Oldboy hands to the viewer is frighteningly well executed, leaving you blind as it hits you like a ton of bricks. With twists and turns like this, Oldboy will drop jaws and leave you tearing up with its clever ending.
However, Oldboy will leave a bit of a strange taste in your mouth at times and leave you neither liking nor disliking any of its characters. Its plot does rely on a few coincidental actions. For example, how did Oh Dae-su just so happen to stumble upon Mido’s restaurant? This and a small amount of other scenes in the film could have been explained a bit better.
Whilst Oldboy’s fight scenes are arguably sparse and cheap-looking, they are used to the right effect and are frequent enough to keep you glued to the screen throughout. They will, however, leave some viewers with the desire for more scenes similar to the hallway fight scene, which is filmed brilliantly and thoroughly enjoyable but not as convincingly as they’d like to think.
Despite this, these flaws are drowned out as Oldboy still manages to deliver enough evidence to strongly support the plot, leaving you thinking “how, why and really?” rather than “this makes no sense” and this is exactly what it wants you to do. For you to ask questions of yourself and the people around you.
That’s the beauty of the film and what it performs so well, never before have I seen a film that has left me drawn back, a film that is so twisted that I have questioned the conclusion I have come to.
For these reasons Oldboy is a must watch, an incredible piece of cinematic and directorial genius which Chan-wook Park should be proud of and renowned for. Oldboy will stay on your mind for a long time, accompanied by its memorable quotes.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.”