Sunday, January 08, 2006
Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance
Last year I had the privilege of seeing a Korean film called Oldboy. It was a sick revenge film, with one of the most warped plots I think I've ever encountered. This man is held prisoner in a small flat for something insane like 15 or 20 years. Why? Who's keeping him there? Finally he's let out, and everything goes batshit insane.

Turns out Oldboy is the second film in something called the Vengeance Trilogy. The third film, Lady Vengeance hasn't been released in America yet. Which brings us to the first film in the trilogy: Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.

Like Oldboy, this is full of bizarre and sadistic twists and turns. There's not much I can say about the plot without giving too much away, but let's just say there might be more than one Mr. Vengeance. It's a whole cycle of A getting revenge against B, and then B has to have revenge for that, and then naturally A must retaliate, and so on, so forth for a little over two hours. There's much ambiguity as to who is right/who is wrong, who is good/evil, what is justified, etc. In the end, I had sympathy for both Mr. Vengeances. And for most of the other characters as well.

This one has a little bit of everything... organ theivery, kidnapping, bloody death, sex, extortion, mentally ill derelicts, honor killing, revenge killing, regret killing, accidental killing, electrocution, sadism... like I said, everything.

I rented this from the local Hollywood Video, and the DVD was in pristine condition, which usually means nobody else has rented it (and subsequently tried to clean it with steel wool or their car keys or whatever), and that's a shame. I guess there's not much of a local market for foreign films. And that's another shame. Blame it on laziness or ignorance or xenophobia or whatever, but I'd estimate at least 70% of the really awesome films I've ever seen have NOT been American made.

In short, watch this. And then watch Oldboy. But maybe not, if you don't have a strong stomach for violence and depravity.