Park Chan-wook (director)
02 August 2019 (released)
02 August 2019
Oldboy was released on unsuspecting audiences in 2003 and caused something of a storm. It was unapologetically violent, mean characters and a storyline so weird that its still worth considering how it was successfully transferred from its Manga origins. There’s also a restaurant scene so gratuitous in its literal bad taste that like the secretions of the unfortunate creature, is indelible.
This new 4K restoration is magnificent with a rich clarity to the palette whilst showing off the sound design as never before. The story of course remains the core still enthralling and shocking even after all these years.
Businessman Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is kidnapped and held for fifteen years, seemingly for no reason. He endures humiliation and with only the TV for company builds a strange reference to it, almost educational.
Released from a box and in one of the most startling and memorable scenes with a brilliant slight of hand from director Park Chan-wook we are taken from green fields to downtown Seoul. Learning that his wife has been murdered he sets off on a bloody, complicated trail of vengeance as he picks up the trail via low life criminals and a more sophisticated criminal operation.
It’s visual feast of dextrous camera work, ugliness and beauty, streaked with dreadful acts. So much so that it’s easy to forget the riveting performances from the actors. It’s something remarkable and a credit to Chan-wook that after all that occurs the bloodletting and sheer bizarreness of it all, he still manages to coax, only a little mind, sympathy for some of the characters.
Oldboy is in cinemas from 2 August and is available now on VOD.