in water they sink as the same.”
The minute I decided to enter this challenge I knew that one particular movie needed to be in my list – Old Boy. It’s the film I get recommended the most, and being unforgivably unfamiliar with Korean cinema, this pick was a no-brainer. But knowing about it didn’t prepare me at all for its viewing: I expected a violent revenge tale, but what I got was a bloody comedy, a moving and disturbing drama, and then a violent revenge tale (and not from the character I expected it from). All in one beautiful – talk about striking cinematography – crazy, excessive movie that had me double-checking my reactions throughout. Should I laugh, be repulsed, or cry? Is it possible to do it all at once? It is!
The incest theme is both shocking and refreshing in an age where controversial material is so rare in movies – as if depicting equals condoning – and it is so cleverly done that you can’t help but be torn apart by mixed feelings. Also interesting is how we start with a hero and faceless villain, and in the end they’re both so equally miserable that they’re assigned roles become indistinguishable from one another.
It’s dark, twisted stuff and I shamelessly love it for that; in fact I believe Dae-Su’s crying in the end means the hypnosis didn’t work – that’s how bleak I like my movies.