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Reviews & Ratings for
Oldboy More at IMDbPro »Oldeuboi (original title)

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Visually disturbing and shocking, this thriller is a mess, yet it is so hard to turn away from!

4/10
Author: TheMaster1378 from Australia
14 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chanwook Park's style of film-making will definitely not suit all tastes, in fact it's surprising how many tastes it has managed to satisfy. Whilst his style for directing is actually not bad, it's the film that he has managed to create that is more of a shock. Oldboy is so visually disturbing and shocking, and eventually very messy, it's surprising how difficult it is to turn your eyes away from the screen!

Oh Dae-Su, played by the stern-faced and overly morbid Choi Min-Sik, is kidnapped for an unknown reason, by an unknown figure, and is imprisoned in a room for fifteen years. After he is suddenly released, he is left with money, clothing and a cell phone. Dae-Su soon meets Mi-Do (played by Kang Hye Jeong) at a Sushi Bar and after a series of circumstances, she says that she will help him. Oh Dae-Su plans for revenge, he wants to make whoever kidnapped him pay... but the one who kidnapped him has planned this all from the very beginning. It's a very good plot, crammed with twists and turns, and an overall idea of revenge. The only problem is... this revenge story goes overboard.

From hallucinations of ants, to pulling teeth out with a hammer, this film just becomes a mess. Not in terms of the plot, that manages to stay away from this tangle. It's the ideas, the cinematography, the way that this revenge story is presented. Oh Dae-Sue is a very unlikeable title figure, although you are supposed to sympathise with him due to what he has lost, but the way he is presented is horrible. Yu Ji-Tae, who gives the best performance of the film as Lee Woo-Jin, is an interesting villain, a character who is more interesting and actually likable than Oh Dae-Su.

The Graphic content of the film adds to the overall impact, building up to the shocking end catastrophe. Dreams become reality, reflections are all that is left of the good, and a monster is what is left behind. CD's are used as weapons, sad people hallucinate, hypnotism can control your life, and an Octopus can be eaten as if it were a Burger. Oldboy depicts a strange reality. A Brutal reality full of revenge, violence and incest.

Whilst the film as a whole is a crushing disappointment, check out the awesome tracking shot fight scene where Oh Dae-Su takes on an entire gang using nothing but a hammer. The directing style is vibrant, the acting is dull (with the exception of Woo-Jin) and the cinematography is insane (not in a good way). The soundtrack is interesting, bouncing between techno and classical and setting the dark scenes quite well, but 'Oldboy' in the end just doesn't seem to come together nice at all. <4 out of 10> A major disappointment, and a surprising stir at the Cannes film festival

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The kind of movie that won't grow old.

9/10
Author: Quebec_Dragon from Canada
17 July 2011

An alcoholic father and husband is captured and kept in captivity during 15 years without knowing why. When he gets out, he's hell-bent on revenge and discovering why he was imprisoned. This is a powerful movie with strong dramatic performances. It's intense and constantly keeps you on your toes. The story is amazing and full of twists and turns until the very end. Speaking of twists, the film is a bit twisted in itself by the themes it portrays. It does make us question what is moral and acceptable in revenge. The directing is bold and inventive.

There's a long fight scene without cuts in a corridor that's practically an anthology piece. Other memorable moments involve teeth and a tongue. Notice how the director often plays with our expectations showing relatively little but creeping us out nevertheless. The story also plays with our perceptions of the characters, making them more or less sympathetic. The main character has quite the character arc transformation, completely changing physically and psychologically during the course while keeping the viewer on edge because he's a bit unstable... So, it's overall quite fascinating, intellectually stimulating, viscerally gripping, and heartily recommended provided you don't expect a simple, typical revenge movie and you keep an open mind.

Rating: 8.5 out 10 (remarkable)

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A masterful psychological thriller

10/10
Author: Harry from Canada
9 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I ran across this movie by shear chance. I assumed it would be just another action flick but I was proved wrong. I was confused half and hour into the movie.But around the 1 hour mark it pulled me right in. The ending is what make the movie such an masterpiece. They could have just as easily put in a dumb fight sequence and it would have become a forgettable movie But instead we get one of the greatest twist in movie history. The acting is fantastic. Both the leads and villains deliver all guns. The movie uses dark grim images. In fact most of movie is shot indoors or during night. Dialouge is another thing that stands out as there are many quotable lines. The movie also has its funny moments. The comedy is usually dark but provides some relief for the viewers Personnaly I loved this movie. But it does contain strong violence and deals with some countervail issues. Hence wont recommend it for kids. But for mature movie lovers it is a must see.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Interesting concept,but major flaws

3/10
Author: Albi Losha from Greece
10 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i don't understand all the fuss about this movie..i just watched it because of the high rating..it's a good movie but relax people it has major flaws...what i didn't liked : hypnosis doesn't works that way guys...and the biggest bullshit ever,HOW ON EARTH HE DIDN'T REMEMBERED HIS DAUGHTER OR HIS DAUGHTER REMEMBERED HIM..?? i have returned to my homeland after 17 years and still remembered every person and i left as a 5 year old kid....and also Dae-Su and Woo-jinLee seem to have like 15-20 years age difference how come they were classmates..?? i know prison can make you look older but i don't think that much...last thing,Woo-jin Lee looks like a maximum of 30 year old guy so it took him 15 years of Dae-su prison and i would assume that after the school it took Dae-su about 5 years to make a family...so to sum up Woo-jin must have been like 5-10 years old when he made out with his sister and Dae-su would be a 15-20 years old guy going in primary school....major flaws guys

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

I just badly wasted 2 hours of my life...

1/10
Author: DrStangelove from Belgium
4 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We watch movies to have emotions, right? Then be warned: watching Oldboy, you'll feel nothing but disappointment! The plot is so weak that they used violence and torture scenes to keep us awake. If they manage to keep you for two hours watching this cause you're curious about the reason why the main character was kidnapped in the first place, then be prepared to be sorry for yourself and for the time you wasted. The director obviously realized that he got the poorest plot of the history of the cinema and he tries to apologies by giving us again some stupidly violent scenes...Unfortunately it does not make it more watchable!

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A great intro to Asian Cinema!

10/10
Author: stargazer-lea from United Kingdom
19 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a fan of Manga and Anime, it was only natural to give Asian cinema a go. Oldboy has been tossed around in conversation and articles and compared to numerous new Korean movies on a forum I frequent. So, I thought well, why not! The story is about Oh Dae-Su, a delinquent husband and father who we can tell is useless, a drunk. In the first scene we see him in a police station acting the fool. He is kidnapped and held against his will in an unknown location with nothing but a TV to keep him up to date with life on the outside world. Suddenly, 15 years after his incarceration, he is released. He is given 5 days, enough money to see him through and a cell to find out why he was kidnapped and by who.

The story is fairly basic but with lots of twists and turns along the way. A slow burner to say the least. However, it doesn't feel like a long slow film. The slow scenes are broken up by action sequences which are thrilling and stunningly presented. The story is completely mesmerising. The discomfort with certain scenes is perfectly balanced with entertainment and the conclusion was so well thought out that the realisation fills you with a sense of disgust visually and mentally. The characters are brilliant. I believed every single one of them.

If I was to nit pick I'd say sometimes the colours and lighting was a bit too dark.

I advise even people who dislike Asian cinema to at least give Oldboy a go. The story is that good I forgot I was even reading the whole time. It became second nature. It is the perfect film for a newbie to foreign films. The dialogue is paced well enough that it's easy to keep up with.

I recommend this film to anyone who likes horror, shock cinema, foreign films or thrillers.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Park Chan-Wook's Masterful "Oldboy" is a Tour-De-Force of storytelling! My favorite film of all time!

10/10
Author: MaximumMadness from United States
17 February 2012

I just recently noticed that I have written 99 reviews on IMDb since joining in 2005. And I have decided, in honor of my 100th review, to tackle my favorite film- a Korean release from 2003, directed by the masterful Park Chan-Wook. I am speaking of course, of the controversial and amazingly elegant film "Oldboy."

Based loosely upon a Japanese Manga, Chan-Wook's "Oldboy" stars the amazing Choi Min-Sik as Oh Dae-Su, a drunk businessman in Korea. The film opens with his abduction from public, as he is mysteriously placed in a dark, dingy building, where criminals pay to have people held captive. Dae-Su is locked in the hotel-like room, being fed daily and only having a TV to keep him company, for 15 years. One day he learns on a news report that his wife was found murdered, and he later learns that his young daughter was sent to adoptive parents out of the country. Over time, he becomes depressed, angry, and eventually empty. He begins to train himself to fight, plotting to escape and seek vengeance. Then, all of the sudden, he awakens one day to find that he has been set free... given money, a suit and a cellphone. A taunting phone call from the one who ordered his captivity ensures that Dae-Su will stop at nothing to get his revenge.

He is joined by Mi-Do (Kang Hye-jeong), a beautiful and feisty young chef and his old friend No Joo-hwan (Ji Dae-Han), whom try to assist him as he solves the mysteries surround why he was imprisoned. He also does eventually encounter the man who ordered his capture- a wealthy businessman who lives in a towering skyscraper named Lee Woo-jin (played by Yoo Ji-tae), though the encounter only raises the stakes- Dae-su cannot kill him, for he will kill himself first to rob Dae-su of his revenge if he tries... And now, Dae-su only has five days to solve the mystery, or else Woo-jin will kill Mi-do, whom Dae-su has began to fall for.

The acting is superb, especially from our leads Choi Min-sik and Yoo Ji-tae. Both deliver astounding and detailed performances. Choi Min-sik is sympathetic yet at the same time frightening and unstable... you will root for him while fearing him. And Yoo Ji-tae is incredible as our villain, who is oddly likable and charming despite his cruel and often evil nature, much in the same way Hannibal Lector was in "Silence of the Lambs", and he plays the role with much joy and delight. Both were chilling.

Supporting roles were all well-played. Kang Hye-jeong and Ji Dae-han were both phenomenal, and all other secondary characters were well-played. (Particularly funny is Oh Dal-su as "Mr. Park", the nasty little jerk who runs the building where Dae-su was imprisoned. He's the sort of guy who would double-cross his mother for a nickle, and he's a lot of fun to watch.)

Park Chan-Wooks direction is what really, truly elevates this film to unknown bounds, though. Chan-Wook has a poetry and a distinctive, sharp visual sense to his camera-work. Everything is perfectly deliberate and perfectly fine-tuned. His choice of colors, textures and patterns also set a marvelous mood. This is one of those films where even if muted, the visual tell the story just as much as the dialog. Everything is perfectly planned out- right down to the wallpaper on the walls and the tiniest prop. (It's even in the making-of.) Chan-Wook's visual sensibility and ability to communicate his ideas with the actors is the closest to perfection as is obtainable. He is truly a master of film.

The script is very tight, dare I say, even flawless. It all fits together like an enormous jigsaw puzzle, and each piece is important. The few action sequences are amazing and gritty, the music is perfectly implemented to compliment the story. The many twists and turns the plot takes are breathtaking, and you will leave this film feeling touched and disturbed. It gets under your skin and infects you. You will not forget this movie!

This is truly an amazing film. I usually try to find something negative to mention in each of my reviews, but here... I just can't.

"Oldboy" is a 10 out of 10. It is as close to perfection as a film can get.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Don't bother. Rubbish.

4/10
Author: dnthieds from Australia
21 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fortunately for a self-trained action hero your enemies conveniently attack you one at a time while you ignore the effects of a stabbing in the back, in the most comical fight scenes akin to Peter Griffin fighting the giant chicken.

An then there's the entire premise of this film: An elaborate revenge scheme 15 years in the making, where the bad guy imprisons a father and then raises his daughter for 15 years before using hypnotism to make the two fall in love. Reminds me of "Have the protocol driod's mind wiped." What a convenient way to cover a ridiculous plot.

I feel for the octoped that had to die to make this rubbish.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

a great movie, worth watching several times

9/10
Author: jake wulf from Netherlands
7 March 2008

I saw this movie for the first time on a pay per view channel together with my dad. He thought it was not bad, but I was entranced. The second I got home I bought it (it was one of the first DVD's that I ever bought).

I've shown it to over 50 people by now and they all agree on one thing, it has some amazing parts in it. Even people who really didn't like the movie, loved the fight scene in the middle, it has comedy, extreme violence and some good old fighting.

This movie is in my top 5 favorites of all time and the only reason I didn't give it a 10 is because after watching it as many times as I have some scenes get a bit boring.

This movie has it all, plot twists that would make M. Night Shyamalan confused, action that would make john woo proud, sex scene's that are worthy to be in a porn, and action that should've gotten an Oscar.

If you haven't seen it yet, do so now. If you've seen it but didn't get it watch it again. And if you're like me and love it, just watch it for the fun of it again.

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11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Maybe it's just the cultural barrier

1/10
Author: Ryan M
22 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was highly regarded and I was expecting to see something unique and appealing. Unique - yes. Appealing - no.

First off, any time a movie contains a scene in it that does not contribute to the plot and is simply there to disgust you (him eating the live Octopus), I write it off as being a cheap flick looking to impress teenagers and young adults who cling to things like that.

But what really got me about this movie was the ending. Why oh why did the main character cut his own tongue off and bark like a dog? Was 15 years not enough? Everyone has spread rumors. The guy's sister was a psycho. She killed herself because she was nuts. Not because of the rumor. She was the one having sex with her brother in the first place, so you knew a screw was loose in the first place. She was bound to kill herself, rumor or not. If this movie was made by someone with a brain, the main character would have beat down the incestuous brother after he found out that he was screwing his own daughter due to 15 years of hypnosis ordered by the sister-screwer.

The reaction of cutting out his own tongue is a unique one because 99.99999% of people wouldn't have done that in that situation. Most people would have been like, "What is wrong with you, you psychotic sister screwer? You lock me up for 15 years and hypnotize me to screw my own daughter as revenge for a piddly high school rumor? Seriously?" And then you would have beat him down into the ground, pulled out his teeth and thrown him out of the window. It would have been a much better ending to an overdone and overly gory (this is coming from someone who likes Saw movies) movie. I know I'm not the only one to think this because the other people watching the movie with me completely agreed that the main character was stupid for cutting out his tongue and barking like a dog.

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