Boksuneun naui geot [Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance] (2002)

Boksuneun naui geot
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Mu-yeong Lee, Chan-wook Park, Jae-sun Lee, Jong-yong Lee
Based on: Nobuaki Minegishi
Part of: The Vengeance Trilogy
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae, Ji-Eun Lim, Bo-bae Han

Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin) doesn’t have it easy: his sister (Ji-Eun Lim) is slowly dying of kidney failure, while he slaves away in a factory, trying to raise the money for a transplant. He tried to donate his own kidney, but unfortunately has the wrong blood type. That he’s deaf doesn’t help with things either. Then he stumbles on a possibility to sell his kidney, in exchange for one of the right blood type. Quite illegally of course. But everything goes wrong and Ryu is left with a kidney less, no money and he’s fired from his job – when the official transplant comes through. So he and his girlfriend (Doona Bae) hatch a plan to kidnap the factory owner Park’s (Kang-ho Song) kid (Bo-bae Han). And things only go downhill from there.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is beautifully shot, well told and utterly bleak. It grips you and doesn’t let you go until the very end. Amazing.


I loved that we got a deaf main character in this film, including a couple of moments shot from his perspective which made do without sound and that his signing was translated in title cards. What I didn’t love so much was that the subtitles unfortunately didn’t translate all the title cards in my version, meaning that you sometimes had to guess at a few things.

And I also really loved the title (I wonder if its the literal translation from Korean): you don’t actually know who the Mr. Vengeance is you should have sympathy for. Is it Ryu? Is it Park? Both, neither? In the end, you’re only sure that vengeance doesn’t get you anywhere much.


Chan-wook Park has an incredibly sense for style and where to put a camera, so the movie is visually just as engaging as the plot-wise. And the cast is great, too. Especially Kang-ho Song blew me away.

The film doesn’t hold back on the violence and I guess you gotta have the stomach for that. But if you can handle the violence, you’ll be rewarded with an intelligent film that poses many questions and doesn’t let anybody off the hook easily.


Summarising: Watch it, if you want to be depressed for a bit.

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