Chinjeolhan geumjassi [Sympathy for Lady Vengeance] (2005)

Chinjeolhan geumjassi
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park
Part of: The Vengeance Trilogy
Cast: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim, Yea-young Kwon, Ji-tae Yu, Kang-ho Song, Hye-jeong Kang, Byeong-ok Kim

Geum-ja Lee (Yeong-ae Lee) was just released from prison after more than a decade where she did time for kidnapping and killing a young boy. In prison she was known for her beauty and kindness, but as soon as she is out, Geum-ja starts ruthlessly working on her plan for revenge on the person who really was responsible for the murder, with the help of former inmates. At the same time, she tries to reconnect with her daughter (Yea-young Kwon) who was adopted by an Australian couple.

At the start of the movie, I thought that I would end up not liking it, that it would be a surprisingly weak ending to the unofficial trilogy. But the further it went, the absurder its sense of humor got, the more I enjoyed it. By the end, I was loving it just as much as the other two films.


Though you’d hardly expect it, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is the funniest film of the trilogy. It’s the kind of dark humor, though, that’s probably going to be problematic for many people. But if you like your stuff macabre, this film’s definitely for you.

But it takes a while until the humor really comes out (though the opening scene is already genius in that regard) and until it does, the movie was a little difficult to get into. Especially because I didn’t really know what to do with Geum-ja at the beginning. But when the movie hits its stride, it is glorious.


The performances were great and it was nice to see many actors from the other films of the Trilogy again as well, even if most only for a short moment.

But again the most outstanding thing was Chan-wook Park. He has such an eye for shooting a beautiful movie, for composition and colors. And his film is pretty full with symbols. You don’t have to interpret like crazy to get the film, but the option is there, which I personally find the perfect way to go about symbolism: you can make it as meaningful and deep as you want to make it.


Summarising: Excellent.

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