7.7/10
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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Boksuneun naui geot (original title)
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2:12 | Trailer

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A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.

Director:

Chan-wook Park
7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kang-ho Song ... Dong-jin Park
Ha-kyun Shin ... Ryu
Doona Bae ... Yeong-mi Cha
Ji-Eun Lim Ji-Eun Lim ... Ryu's Sister
Bo-bae Han Bo-bae Han ... Yu-sun
Se-dong Kim Se-dong Kim ... Chief of Staff
Dae-yeon Lee Dae-yeon Lee ... Choe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Masashi Fujimoto Masashi Fujimoto ... Peng
Ju-bong Gi Ju-bong Gi
Gyu-su Jeong Gyu-su Jeong
Jae-yeong Jeong ... Husband of Dong-jin's ex-wife's
Kan-hie Lee Kan-hie Lee ... Dong-jin Park's ex-wife
Kwang-rok Oh Kwang-rok Oh ... Anarchist
Jae-woong Park Jae-woong Park
Seung-bum Ryoo ... Retarded Boy at River (as Seung-beom Ryu)
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Storyline

In Seoul, Ryu, a deaf worker has a sister who needs a kidney transplant. He tries to donate his own kidney to his sister, but his blood type is not compatible with hers. When Ryu is fired from Ilshin Electronics, he meets illegal dealers of organs, and the criminals propose that he give them his kidney plus ten millions Won to obtain a kidney suitable for his sister. Ryu accepts the trade, but he does not have money to pay for the surgery. His anarchist revolutionary girlfriend Cha Young-mi convinces him to kidnap Yossun, the daughter of his former employer Park, who owns Ilshin Electronics. However, a tragedy happens, generating revenge and a series of acts of violence. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Revenge Was Never This Sweet

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong gruesome violence, strong sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Release Date:

29 March 2002 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance See more »

Filming Locations:

South Korea

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,827, 21 August 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$45,289, 16 February 2006

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,954,937, 25 March 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bo-bae Han (Yu-Sun, the kidnapped girl) couldn't relax while acting for the scene where she sits in front of the TV watching cartoons with Ryu. Director Chan-Wook Park gave her food to chew on to calm her down - The second half of the scene is then mostly improvised by her and Ha-kyun Shin. See more »

Goofs

In the ransom photo of Yoosun, she is wearing the necklace Ryu made. However, he hadn't given her the necklace when he took the photo, it was later, when he traded the necklace for her doll. See more »

Quotes

Cha Yeong-mi: The bad image kidnappers get is because of kids getting killed. But we're different. Give us the money and we'll return the kid pronto.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title card of the film is shown in both Korean and English. See more »

Connections

Followed by Oldeuboi (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well crafted and challenging
12 April 2003 | by simon_boothSee all my reviews

Vengeance is one of humanity's more lamentable instincts, and one we'll have to overcome as a species one day. When one acts out of vengeance one seeks only to hurt, and when people start hurting each other because they're hurt themselves, everybody ends up hurting and nobody really gains anything.

I think that's the main message Park Chan-Wook wants us to take away from SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, though the movie is complex and oblique and doubtless open to many interpretations. It is a challenging movie in many ways - the story is never spelled out clearly, leaving the viewer to deduce many key events and motivations. Dialogue is sparse, and this is not solely attributable to the fact that the main character is deaf and dumb. The movie also challenges - almost terrorises - with its bleakness and occasional scenes of quite disturbing violence and gore.

SFMV is an ambitious project, and one that doesn't fit into any established cinematic mould. The story, characters, themes and aesthetics are all very unusual and creative. I can't think of any other film that's quite like it, though at times I likened the experience to that of watching certain Takashi Miike movies. Actually, Kim Ki-Duk's movies are probably the closest point of reference, though Park Chan-Wook's film is smarter.

SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE is not a movie I'd choose for a movie night with friends, or one that I'd lend or recommend to most of the people I know. Perhaps I'm unfair in my assessment of my friends, but I can't think of many that would enjoy it. Actually I'm surprised that the film is held in such wide regard, as its not a conventional film or an easy film, and is far more art than entertainment. In my experience that narrows a film's audience significantly, but I've yet to hear anybody express a negative reaction to the film. I guess originality and technical virtuosity are still appreciated after all - perhaps more so by those that have gravitated to Korean cinema in recent years than in other groups, since they are most often to be found there.

With JSA and SFMV, Park Chan-Wook has definitely shown himself to be one of the brightest figures in the new wave of Korean directors. Both are very well crafted in pretty much every respect. The cast of SFMV also deserve commendation for their performances, which are all good. Song Kang-Ho steals the show with a wonderfully understated performance, though.

Recommended, but make sure you know what you're getting.


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