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Oldboy – Review March 16, 2009

Posted by Cello in Movie Reviews.


Japan Cinema presents, Oldboy, which is hands down the best film from South Korea. Period. It is arguably my favorite movie of all time and I will explain why.

Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is on his way home from a drunken rage after his best friend bails him out of jail. It’s his daughters birthday and he wants to get home to give her a present, but before he can make it someone mysteriously kidnaps him and they vanish without a single trace. He awakes in some sort of strange apartment. It’s not a prison, which is odd, because it means some private individual has created this carpeted one-room hell-hole, with a television and a fake view of the Dutch countryside. He’s fed every day through a little opening, and occasionally the room fills with some sort of knockout gas while his captors change the towels. After 15 years, he is finally released and he must seek revenge against his captore and find the secrets as too why he was imprisoned in the first place.


The magic of this movie and any movie is how an audience successfully attaches to, empathizes with and learns from its characters. Otherwise there really is no point in following these people for two hours, is there? What the director (Chan-Park Wook) creates, is a story so emotionally consuming and mentally fascinating any forthcoming assumptions are automatically defused as the film breaks down barriers unimaginable to even the most complicated puzzle solvers. The structure of one mans life is examined through the strength of his morality, testing his desires and evocative fantasies through the harsh realms of ultimate torture and complete isolation.

To demonstrate the brilliance of this film, there is a 5 minute fight scene [featured in the above youtube video] that is filmed in a hallway.  There are no cuts or edits in this frame and it is one of the most awesome scenes I have ever seen in a film. Old Boy is a movie that makes you think and appreciate foreign cinema. It doesn’t hold back in its attempt to expose human desires, grudges, and fears. Also, I do want to note that Oldboy’s ending twist makes Fight Clubs‘ look like a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie and it makes a revenge film like Man on Fire look like Sesame Street. This is a masterpiece of a movie.  Highest Recommendation.



1. hagiblog - March 16, 2009

This is also one of my favorite movies. I was blown away by the ending and was riveted to the screen for the entire length of the movie. Actually I’m starting to want to watch it again now.

I’ve been reading your reviews for awhile now man, keep up the great work, I’m enjoying it!

2. Heather - March 17, 2009

I’ve had this one sitting in a stack for about a month now, deciphering when I’ll watch it. It’s moved to the top of my stack. Thanks.

3. gaguri - March 20, 2009

Hands down. HANDS DOWN the best film from Korea and of course, one of my favourite films of all time 🙂

There’s just so much to say about this film, and all I can say is…if anyone hasn’t watched it yet, watch it! if you can stomach some violence…

4. Nichole Camarillo - March 22, 2009

If you would have given this film anything less than 5 stars, we would have had problems. 😉 An all-time fav.

5. Phear - March 26, 2009

Watched this last night. It was an incredible movie, and that ending was killer. Can’t really say I saw it coming… it was kinda freaky.

6. Matsuda - April 7, 2009

hahaha “bad m.night shyamalan movie”, good call. fight club is so overrated.. *yawns* anyway, i’m definitely going to pick this up soon. awesome.

7. mckeh - June 29, 2009

ahh so happy 😀 favorite movie of all time!!

loved the review, although I disagree on something. “bad M. Night Shyamalan movie”? since when has there been a good one? lol

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