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While Mr. Vengeance is even more fucked up than Oldboy, Oldboy is one of the quintessential movies of the last decade. But then again, all of Chan-Wook Park's movies are astonishing...
Oldboy is a brilliant, harrowing film, deconstructing the very notion of the revenge film itself...but Mr. Vengeance does that too, only better, and to a level of greater devastation. Never has a movie so unblinkingly embraced the logical end of raging vengeance, with a sort-of anti-Dickensian nightmarish puzzle plot that leads again and again to heartbreak and annihilation. What a masterful, frightening, and yet ultimately entertaining film, like a beautiful train wreck.
That's a hard one. Oldboy works just fine as a genre film. It works great, actually. But it's also got a message. Mr. Vengeance does that message even better, though. So I think it all kind of depends on how I'm feeling on any given day. Today, I'm going with Oldboy.
Vengeance takes it for the sheer fact that I feel everyone is somewhat justified. Not the choices I would make obviously, but I see where it started in desperation, or rage, and just unraveled. No real villain, just a lot of bad choices.
Chan-wook Park (or is it the other way around?) tried way too fuckin' hard with both of these. I guess that's sort of his MO. He just makes me roll my eyes for some reason. I'd see Sympathy again first, I suppose.
Tried too hard? What do you mean?
Oldboy. Sympathy is a rather gorgeous movie, but also sullen and cold. And not is a good way either, because I do tend to enjoy aloof, distant ruthlessness. No it's sort of cold in the stale, meditative way that liberates you from wakefulness. I guess that's just the roundabout, wishy-washy way of saying I found it boring (probably because the characters aren't superstarish, quite the opposite). Oldboy isn't boring and I too like it's message: Be careful where you stick your penis.
"No it's sort of cold in the stale, meditative way that liberates you from wakefulness." I was gonna say, "You mean you find it boring?" Then I read your next sentence. :) But yes, be careful where you stick your penis, indeed.
"Tried too hard? What do you mean?" I think they're very dumb movies that think they are very smart and artistic. Tarantino dressed up to appear like Murakami. Maybe I'm insane.