Story: Oh Dae-su is abducted and locked in a prison-like room for 15 years, without any rhyme or reason. Then, he’s suddenly released and given a cell phone and instructions that he has 5 days to figure out why. That is where the vengeance begins. But will Oh Dae-su be ready for the truth?
The Film Itself: Believe the hype about director Chan-wook Park. He’s the real deal, as is evident with his unique visual direction on this and his other films from his “vengeance” trilogy. It’s difficult to even describe OLDBOY to you, our faithful readers. It’s not exactly a horror film, but it’s horrific in natural and shares the same aesthetics as a true horror film with its’ realism. Also, Chan-wook Park IS a visual storyteller. I remember catching this in a dingy theater in Manhattan with terrible unreadable subtitles and STILL being intrigued in the films story. The vengeance is not carried out the way it would be in the average revenge tale, but that is what sets this film apart. There’s one scene which takes place in a small, narrow hallway, in which our main character Oh Dae-su fights off a dozen or so hoods with a hammer. It’s all shown from a side view and in one long take. Quite frankly, it’s a classic scene in cinema history. Then, there is the ending! I don’t want to give it away, but it’s not what you’d expect. It’s far, far worse. (And I don’t mean in a gory way. It’s mentally fucked up. Plain and simple.) Watch this. ASAP.
Special Features: Tartan Video never disappoints when it comes to their DVD releases, and OLDBOY is no exception. Kicking off the features is a very informative commentary track by Chan-wook Park and Chung-hoon Chung. The commentary appears subtitled, so it’s a lot of reading, BUT they really go into detail on explaining all the shots & lighting and they talk about how they achieved the look for the majority of the film. There’s also an interview segment with the director, which looks like it was shot in a school auditorium and he fields various questions from the audience (he’s reading them off a printed sheet) The disc also boasts the original theatrical trailer AND the internet contest winning trailer. Rounding everything off is a photo gallery and some deleted scenes from the movie. During the commentary for the deleted scenes, Chan-wook Park comments on how much he dislikes commentary tracks, how he’d prefer the movie speak for itself, and that while fans love seeing deleted material, it’s embarrassing to share because it was deleted for a reason. Despite admitting this, he still reveals a lot about how everything was done. This is another fantastic addition to your DVD collection. – robg.