Based on the Japanese manga (where all good stories come from) written by Nobuaki Minegishi, what incredible things can I say about Oldboy? Considered the best in the Revenge trilogy, Oldboy comes from a very visceral place combining elements of all
kinds of storytelling into one film. It’s got revenge and tragedy, theatrical protestations and all the heart and music of an opera. People have said (CNN has said) that it is one of the 10 best Asian films ever made. Let’s back that up and rephrase. There’s no need to include Asian in that statement. Ten best films ever made? Sounds good to me.
I’ve seen Oldboy twice now and I’ve been thoroughly entertained both times. The story is fresh and there’s just enough plot and action that keeps you captivated to the edge of your seat. Visually striking, poetic in the way it is formulated and the scenes are shot… Think about the snazziest guy you know that does things in such an elegant way and give him a beat-up haircut and a hammer. That’s this movie in a nutshell.
If you laugh, then the world laughs with you…
Revenge, as I’ve talked about in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is played with in this movie as well. Just when you think you have the good and bad guy figured out, it turns itself on its head. Sympathy is the keyword in all these films. You are meant to feel sympathetic towards all characters in this film. Nobody is spared a reason for doing what they do, and that makes it all the easier to see this as a truly brutally honest humanistic film.
Basic plot, shall we? Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) was kidnapped after a drunken night out around his daughter’s birthday. He vanishes from society for 15 years and we get to see a montaged version of that process. Through Oh Dae-su’s diaries, we see the tortured mind that has no idea of his crimes or who he wronged. He writes down every name he can remember in case he has to seek
I forgot to mention Ji-tae Yu, but he did some great work in this movie too.
revenge or beg forgiveness, it’s all up in the air at this point. But, with no reason or rhyme, Oh Dae-su is released after 15 long years of seeing no one and having no company other than a T.V. This leads him on a calculated and cold chase for the man who put him away for seemingly no reason.
Choi Min-sik is a theatrical master in this film. I’m pretty sure Park Chan-wook liked him so much that he brought him back for Lady Vengeance for that reason (different character, just as good). He has a great sense of theatrical, dramatic moments, and he takes his time in delivering lines. That’s what I found interesting about this movie (and Lady Vengeance). Choi Min-sik gathers his thoughts (as a person not on camera would) and says things as if he is choosing his words carefully (no script style). It’s a very unique and non-traditional way of acting, and I enjoy it every time I see him (i.e. watch I Saw The Devil).
The cinematography in this film is a bit more fluid, but you see the same basic ideas come across in this one that you saw in Sympathy for Mr. Revenge. Long shots, wide angles, an extreme focus on the bigger picture. This movie has a fight scene from a side angle that is about 5 minutes long and took 17 takes in 3 days to make. Uncut and visceral, it’s realistic fight scenes like this that make martial arts films being made today possible. (You can see a similar scene in Tony Jaa’s The Protector.)
The plot is fantastic and the cast is great as usual. It’s movies like this that only come around once in a lifetime that everything comes together perfectly to make a film that transcends genre, style, and overall movie like quality. You feel you are watching something more real and ethereal than you expected to see with something created by man. I can’t say anything bad about this movie and I feel, for all audiences (above 13, I’d say) this movie is worth watching again and
A strange sense of Korean comedy…
again. Moviemakers out there, if you don’t already have this for your collection, get it. This should change the movie industry (hopefully) for the next 20 years. And I really hope Spike Lee doesn’t remake it…
Are you crying from watching this horrid movie on Youtube, Emily Osment?
You may be alarmed at the use of capitalization in the heading for this review. But what you should be more alarmed about is the content of this movie. In an effort to stop the gross amount of cyberbullying that has gone on in the past decade, Cyberbu//y the movie was created. And instead of raising my awareness and sympathy for the cause, this movie took the whole movement quite a few steps back. At least, from a cinematic perspective.
So Taylor Hillridge (Emily Osment) is a typical high schooler. Stigmatized by Hannah Montana she may be, but normal all the same. She has two rad friends, Samantha (Kay Panabaker) and Cheyenne (Meaghan Rath). One’s a fellow Disney channel star, the other, a sexy ghost on Syfy. Word.
Then, oh my god! Taylor gets a laptop for her birthday. I find it funny they never indulge her age, but hey, Meaghan Rath is 25… What’s the first thing you do when you get your own personal computer? Apply to a Faceobook rip-off website that asks you what color your underwear is. And also doesn’t allow you to block unwanted friends. Sounds like a plan.
Is that the Xbox symbol? What?!?
So Taylor does so and unfortunately enters the world of cyberbullying. With a simple use of “bitch”, Taylor is relentlessly assaulted by one of the ugliest popular girls I have ever seen in my life. If there’s someone who should have been relentlessly bully beaten, it was this girl. If they were going for the ugly girl you have to hate because they think they’re pretty, then they hit the nail on the head. Either way, don’t hire Nastassia Markiewicz.
Her mother had all the opportunities in the world to delete her "Cliquesters..."
How many sentences can I use to tell just how horribly inaccurate and coarse this movie was? Yes, it was a movie for ABC Family T.V., but this movie barely scratched the surface on the harshness of teenagers. All those hormones flying around and the best they could do is talk about STD’s and pregnancy? Two things that would be self-evident the second the person showed up at school. But no, I must withhold my judgment. This is a harsher time, a worse off place in this magical land of ABC wonderment. No real world problems are dealt with here. The entire movie my head was full of evil retorts that could’ve been used to right the situation. Oh, the audacity.
I don’t wanna spoil every scene of ridiculousness in this movie (anything that Jon McLaren does as Scott is worthy of this) but there are quite a few. So I’ll just show this:
Now, my idea is to take every character, in a viral video I’d love to make, and recast all the characters. In this short video, I’d have every character, every time they have trouble or become sad, and have them have to deal with a pill bottle. Because what this film has taught me is that for some uneducated suicidal teens, pill bottle caps save lives. And I will use this ridiculous scene from the movie to illustrate that.
This girl wanted to get even. The other kid was a fruit.
What more is there to say about this? This movie is based on a girl who did kill herself after cyberbullying. Where’s the HBO version of this? Why doesn’t the girl succeed and they continue with the effects her death has on the family? This movie just didn’t roll on the issue as hard as it should have. I wanted some bullying that was worth dying over. Not some viral video of a girl with a bag on her head pretending to be a prostitute. Not to advocate any of this, but sometimes it takes a Holocaust proportion example to move people’s awareness. Just saying, not to be a horrid person.
A disgusting plate of horridness.
But let’s move past the issue. The acting, for the most part, was actually okay. Other than Scott. That kid needs to quit acting altogether. But yes, for the most part, the acting was accurate. But where it fell short was that this was 2011 film that struggled to keep up with a changing teen scene. It was stuck back in Myspace when people have moved on to Facebook. The pettiness has become more frightening. It’s fierce, and the lingo lacked luster. The situation seemed vague to encapsulate a teenager’s life, and the melodrama of a Lifetime movie shone through. Unfortunate and ruinous in the end.
So watch this if you have no idea what the internet is. Watch this if you like Disney channel. Just don’t watch this if you want to be moved and informed on the topic of cyberbullying. Actually, scratch that. Watch it for the humor because of its downfall. It falls hard. 4.1 out of 10.