Park Chan-Wook's brings his unique seventh installment to the big screen in March 2003. Known for his action-filled, gore-busting and thick storyline films, his blockbuster, Old boy
is the icing on the cake to his filmography. Based on the popular 1996 Japanese manga. Our protagonist, Oh Dae-Su, played by Choi Min-Sik, is a disgruntled and disturbed man who is driven to find the man who is the mastermind behind his sudden 15 year imprisonment in a hotel. The opening scene is quite dramatic as it serves as an abrupt fuel starter to the never ending adventure theme to the film. Oh Dae-Su is shown on top of a city building holding a man buy his neck tie. The man his holding a small white pooch. The man appears to be frightened but the reason is because Oh Dae-Su is holding him and NOT
because he is hanging at the edge of the roof. The unknown man had attempted to kill himself. Oh Dae-Su insists that "he just wants someone to talk to". Immediately after, the film jumps to a younger Dae-Su held in a police station. He was arrested for public intoxication. Dae-Su is completely drunk and screams profanities and at one point makes an obscene gesture at one of the officers. His friend Ju-Hwan bails him out. Oh Dae-Su is seen talking to his daughter using a payphone. He tells her he has bought her a gift because it is the little girl's birthday. Oh Dae-Su lets Ju-Hwan speak to his daughter. Later, Ju-Hwan tells Oh Dae-Su that his wife wants to talk to him but he has vanished. This is scene implies Oh Dae-Su has been kidnapped.The credits begins and after it has finished, we see Oh Dae-Su, his appearance now is a sloppy one. He is in an unclean hotel room. He is fed fried dumplings as his main course. He narrates his everyday routine in this unusual "prison". He explains his room releases an automatic gas at the sound of a melodic rhythm that puts Oh Dae-Su in an unconscious state. Some modifications are done to Oh Dae-Su and his room when he is asleep.
Losing his family, Oh Dae-Su makes a vow to kill the person responsible for stealing his life away from him. During the prisonment, Oh Dae-Su trains his body by boxing and fighting, treating the walls as his victims. Oh- Dae-Su plans an escape by creating a tunnel, using a chopstick as choice of tool for digging, but his escape tactic fails as he is set free on top of a building. He is now in a business suit and his entire prison journal is scattered on the floor.
The scene cuts back to the beginning of Oh Dae-Su holding the suicidal man by his neck tie. Oh Dae-tells the man his story, but as soon as the man responds, Oh-Dae-Su loses interest and leaves without saying a word. Oh Dae-Su meets his first female encounter in 15 years. A young and beautiful woman named Mi-Do (played by Kang Hye-Jeong). She works as chef in a sushi restaurant Oh Dae-Su stumbles upon. He orders from her a live octopus to consume. This requests slightly baffles Mi-do but she brings him his order anyway. Oh Dae-Su shamelessly and savagely bites into the live octopus and suddenly falls unconscious again after hearing a melodic tone (same tone that is used in his hotel/prison room) coming from a cell phone Oh Dae-Su unawaringly was carrying with him.Next scene shows Oh Dae-Su, who has awoken in Mi-Do's apartment, exchanging weird looks to Mi-do. He tells her his story, his life in an illegal secret prison. She doesn't hesitate to help him find his captor. She accompanies him and suggests locations and contact numbers to where his enemy could be. She even helps him search for his daughter, whom Oh Dae-Su still believes she's well and alive living with foster parents. Together, Oh Dae-Su and Mi-do begin a cat-an-mouse journey, while developing a mutual slow and passionate romance for each other. But as the search grows wider, Oh Dae-Su discovers that his enemy is someone he has known since he was a child, and that the objective of his unlawful imprisonment came from an incident that took place when he was a schoolboy. As the truth starts to unfold, we start to wonder who is the one really plotting revenge and is Oh Dae-Su's inquiry as to who imprisoned him is the right question to be asking.
satisfies the entire criteria of what a great thriller should be. It is an extremely grotesque film. This motion picture is brutally violent, gritty and tragic. It does not censor any gruesome material. Added to the dark nature of the film, the film has a shockingly bizarre twist that nobody can predict. All in all, Old boy
is an revenge film, a very unique one. The story is told with much care and brilliance. The acting is superb, the two leads did a great job portraying such vile and demented characters. The highlight of this film are the action sequences. Each thrilling scene is flawless. No doubt, Old boy
is a cinematic gem. It is highly recommended to any one who enjoys action/thriller films but desires to see something other than the traditional western action movie. This is a film you'll be sorry you missed out on.