Re-Watch: Oldeuboi [Oldboy] (2003)

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Jo-yun Hwang, Chun-hyeong Lim, Joon-hyung Lim, Chan-wook Park
Based on: Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya‘s comic
Part of: The Vengeance Trilogy
Cast: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji, Dal-su Oh, Byeong-ok Kim

Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is a drunk who is thoroughly screwing up his and his daughter’s life when he’s kidnapped. After 15 years of imprisonment for reasons unknown to him, he’s released. Still having no clue what happened, he slowly tries to figure things out, find his daughter again and take revenge on whomever imprisoned him.

I remember watching Oldboy for the first time. I was alone at the movies (at the time that was still a rare thing for me) and I practically ripped the armrest out cause of all the tension. When I left, I never wanted to see the film again. But it didn’t let go of me, so I decided to give it another go. And it’s still amazingly good, even if I am a little more jaded.


There are movies that I watched 3 years ago that I don’t even remember existing, let alone that I watched them or what happened. And then there are movies like this one that I watched once 10 years ago and I still distinctly remember scenes, the plot and amazingly many details.

But watching it again after so long, there are now other things that caught my eye much more than at the time. The beautiful cinematography, for example. The movie is an absolute visual masterpiece. (Though I still remember the beautiful, perfect fight scene and the beautiful, perfect Ji-tae Yu. And the ants.)


This time round I didn’t enjoy the plot as much as I did then. I do think it’s the movie’s weakest point, in fact. But it hardly matters. Because it doesn’t really matter why Dae-su was imprisoned. What’s important is his slow discovery of the goings-on.

I also wasn’t as shocked by the violence. For one, I remembered it pretty well. And two, I watched too many violent films in the meantime and I just saw worse (though not much worse). Yeah, I’m old and desentisized. But that doesn’t make the film any less amazing.


Summarising: really stands the test of time.

One comment

  1. […] Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautifully crafted film, including some nice symbolism, stunning cinematography and fantastic acting, especially from the two leads. I am not saying this is a bad film. It’s just too much of a classic story for me, especially considering how Park Chan-wook has continuously subverted genre expectations, or at least made them feel new and exciting in his previous works like The Handmaiden, Stoker or Oldboy. […]

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