Oldboy ★★★★★

93

"Even though I'm no more than a monster- don't I, too, have the right to live?

16 years after release, this still remains a benchmark in the revenge subgenre that's taken hold fairly recently. If anything, there's still a lot that subsequent films would owe to this, especially the way everything unfolds just when you think you have it all figured out. Yet, Park Chan-wook pulled it off with ease.

Easily one of the best films released in the 2000s, if not ever. It's pretty hard to pin down what this film exactly is, but certainly contains a vast array of words that would only in part describe this masterwork. Bizarre is one of them. Darkly hilarious is one of them as well. Thrilling. Heartbreaking. Terrifying. It's indeed all over the place in terms of mood, but it always feels consistent as you try to unravel Dae-su's circumstances. It's many things at once, yet its greatest achievement is that it leaves you satisfied. It's just a bit under two hours, and it's able to tackle multiple ideas, varied tone, and still keep you engaged throughout.

Not for the squeamish, however this is absolutely essential cinema. It's only 16 years old but it has indeed inspired current and future filmmakers alike. Watch this whenever you can. You just need to see it to believe it. Magical.

Short thoughts:

Min-sik Choi gives one of the best performances, ever. No debate about it.

Still every bit as shocking as it was to me about 9 years ago, the last time I saw this. You know it's special when it feels like the first time, and you still discover new details as you recall your first time after the film is completed.