Oldboy vs. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance



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.

Both are great! Oldboy is better.