After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

A month ago, I started this film. It was a hungover Sunday evening. Normally I’m smarter than to expect comfort from an unfamiliar film. If you’ve seen Oldboy, you’ll understand why I got all claustrophobic and anxious and had to turn it off.

The only difference this time was that I made it to the end. For some people, Oldboy may not inspire the kind of dread it brought up in me. I have a different threshold for what disturbs me. I’m on a different odometer altogether – as we learned from The Silence of the Lambs.

It’s weird. I admire anything that can make me feel this way. Oldboy is a good film, but I didn’t like it. Add it to Schindler’s List and 12 Years a Slave.


But it doesn’t sit with me quite the same as those two films. Nor is it their equal. Oldboy‘s plight is one that doesn’t get presented in film very often, because it is so unlike the traditional injustices we can or wish to comprehend. It makes it worse even that the aforementioned films.

I’m not going to recommend Oldboy to anybody I know. I do not intend to watch it again. It’s made me feel sad and dirty and angry and uncomfortable – so uncomfortable.

I guess: mission accomplished, Chan-wook Park. Now get your dark twisted shit out of my film collection.


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