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Calling this movie original doesn't even suffice. It's an unique one really, that takes its own approach with its storytelling and keeps on doing its own thing throughout. It's unlike anything else which also makes it hard to explain why it works out so well all.

It's Asian, so you know that 90% of the time you are going to get something weird. Weird sounds perhaps a bit disrespectful but I mean this is a compliment really, since this often means you're getting something unusual, unexpected, unique and I just absolutely love it most of the time, even when I have no idea what is going on.

And this movie can also get complicated but only when you are not paying full attention to it, or watching it without subtitles perhaps. Fore the story of "Oldeuboi" is in essence quite simple and very straight-forward. It's a revenge flick, in which a man searches for the one that held him captive for 15 years. On his search and surrounding his story lots of other stuff is of course happening, that are however often important as clues, as to what is truly going on and what the big reveal at the end will be. It's makes this movie work on a mystery and thriller level, without really following the usual pattern of a mystery or thriller movie. Same goes for all of the other aspects, such as its romance and drama. The movie isn't really black & white with any of its themes and good persons aren't just good and bad persons aren't just evil. This whole approach to its themes of course help to make the movie a surprising one, in which you never really know what you are going to get next.

It's also a movie filled with action and plenty of graphic moments. Many people experience this movie as very disturbing because of that, also since it gets all combined with its unusual and uneasy style and atmosphere. To be honest if have seen far worse things done in films and therefore also never really felt too disturbed by anything in this movie but I guess I'm also not average moviegoer, so my opinion of it isn't very representative for the average viewer.

But I think you can say that the biggest power behind this movie is the directing by Chan-wook Park. It's both technically and visually really a well made film, especially also when you're considering that this movie only cost apparently $3,000,000 to make. Not in anyway does this movie ever look cheap or hastily put together. The movie is made with attention to detail and its filled with plenty of unforgettable, well shot, sequences. So lots of credit also needs to go to Chung-hoon Chung, who did the cinematography and we also really shouldn't forget the musical score by Hyun-jung Shim, who did a more than great job!

But Min-sik Choi performance was just as important for the movie really. He plays a really, complex and divers character, that goes through lots of transitions throughout the movie, though people will mostly see and remember him as an extremely awesome character, that backs down for nothing and nobody. Charlie Bronson would had approved of him! He made Dae-su Oh a real classic film character, at least in certain circles.

Fore "Oldeuboi" remains mostly a fan favorite and a bit of a cult classic. a Bit of a shame, since the movie is one that deserves a far broader audience. Just don't let the sort of 'geekdom' that is surrounding this movie scare you off and experience this movie for yourself. Big fat chance you end up really liking it.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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