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Minutes after finishing my Breaking Bad blog, and here I am with another one! Minutes after last nights Breaking Bad episode, I booted up Oldboy on Netflix, and while I was worried that Breaking Bad would overshadow my comprehension and enjoyment of the movie, I was completely wrong, and maybe the opposite effect occurred. Oldboy is so twisted, monstrous, and fantastic of a film that it overshadowed an episode of my favorite show, and that's high praise.
Oldboy is the story of a businessman, Oh Dae-su, who is inexplicably kidnapped for fifteen years and released with no idea as to why. Dae-su then goes on a horrible quest to find who did this and why. For those of you that don't know, Spike Lee is remaking the original Korean version, and there's been kind of a backlash to that. While I'm quite indifferent on the matter, I hope that Lee can capture the same essence of Chan-wook Park's original, because if it can't, it would fail. Anywho, that's out of the way, so let's get into the review.
All the actors and actresses give fantastic performances as troubled and lost individuals trying to piece together this macabre puzzle. The emotion and shock at some of these events really come across genuinely, and as truths are figured out, the story and actors go to a level of the imagination so twisted it never really gets put out into the media. In fact, the best adjective to describe this movie would certainly be twisted, but more on that later.
The sound design is also great, with a soundtrack that counteracts the insanity and emotional torture happening onscreen with pleasant and almost cheerful sounding music. It weirdly helps set the mood for the events onscreen, and is just downright sadistic in a way when partnered with dozens of people being murdered.
Also, a special shout out to the cinematographer, Chung-hoon Chung, as the camerawork is really something special. At one point, Dae-su fights off dozens of men in a hallway with nothing but a hammer, and it's all done without a single camera transition. It's really quite thrilling to see it done like this, and while that's probably the best example of the great cinematography, it's top notch throughout the whole movie.
Alright, now time for the meat of the movie: the story. It's not for the faint of heart, and it goes places where I'm not sure I want it to go, but damn if it doesn't stick to it's course. Any lesser movie would certainly back out of the places where this goes, which is why I hope Spike Lee doesn't back down either. Dae-su very clearly loses his sanity in the first 20 minutes, and it just spirals down from there. There are repeated times where someone's teeth are pulled out with the claw on a hammer, and I couldn't watch it any of those times. There's dismemberment, some self inflicted, and several people commit suicide. It also goes to some *ahem* immoral places, so to speak, and while I can't go into detail without spoiling the movie for those that will watch this one or the remake, it makes you want to puke when the revelations start pouring out. The last half hour is filled with enough emotional backhands for twenty movies of this length (2 hours), and it just never relents. It's not always the questions you ask that matter, it's usually the ones you don't ask.
Any movies you'd like to see me review? Any thoughts on Oldboy, or the remake? Sound off in the comments, and thanks for reading!