Over the past few years, I’ve taken a bit of an interest in far Eastern cinema, an interest that began after I saw Battle Royale for the first time. Which is why when I saw Old Boy in my local Woolworths, I purchased this DVD hoping to see a great film.
The basic story is this - Oh Dae-Su is kidnapped and held against his will for fifteen years, his only contact with the outside world being television. Then, for some unexplained reason, he is released, given expensive clothes, a mobile phone, a large sum of cash. He is given one task by his unknown captor - to find out why he was imprisoned.
And what we have here is a perfectly crafted thriller. Made in South Korea in 2003 and directed by Chan-wook Park, upon first hearing the premise of this film you would be forgiven for thinking that this is little more than a revenge flick, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a near two hour journey as Dae-Su, played perfectly Min-ski Choi, goes on a voyage of discovery, through a tangled web of mystery, intrigue and suspicion as he attempts to find out why he was imprisoned for all of those years.
Without giving too much of the plot away, Old Boy takes you on a tremendous journey, with plot twists that are well worth the wait. It’s perfectly acted, perfectly directed, and well put together. I really can’t speak too highly of this film. However, I get the feeling that as with other great foreign language films, Hollywood moguls will get their hands on this and screw around with it, so the story loses a lot of it’s magic.
Foreign language films may not be to the liking of many, but I’m fast becoming a fan of them. Compared to a great deal of the hogwash that’s coming out of Hollywood these days, the films that the Japanese and Koreans are producing are giving the big American studios a run for their money. Old Boy is a masterpiece, as simple as that.