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Old Boy (2003) you come out 15 years older after watching this film.

05 Sep

The website “Film School Rejects” recently picked the top 30 movies of the decade and Old Boy (2003) landed in the number 7 slot so I wanted to give it a shot so I would share my respect for this film with you.

The film follows the story of one Oh Dae-su, who is locked in a hotel room for 15 years without knowing his captor’s motives.  That is right for 15 years, stuck in the same hotel room.  No contact with the outside world except TV.  For food, he eats dumplings and every so often, his captors will flood the room with gas that sedates him the same gas apparently that the Russians used on the Chechens during their disputes.  The sedation allows his captors to groom him i.e. cut is hair and fingernails, but also prevents him from committing suicide meaning that someone is constantly watching him.  Oh Dae-su is not the only prisoner at the facility, we are shown that there are in fact others in the same predicament as he is:  stuck in some sort of private prison for as long as the customer wants you there.  No judge, no jury, nothing to get you out of the hotel prison cell.  The concept gives new meaning to the Eagles song hotel California “you can check out but you can never leave.”

While watching his only outlet to the outside world, he learns that his wife has been murdered, a crime for which he is the prime suspect (though he has the perfect alibi), and that his daughter has been adopted.  In addition to his consistent television viewing, Oh Dae-su begins to shadowbox and harden his fists by punching the walls.  As anyone would he pledges revenge on his captor(s) and secretly begins trying to tunnel out of his cell.  Then after 15 years he is released and finds himself on the roof of a building with a cellphone and some money no explanation or any other information about why 15 years of his life were spent in a hotel room. 

At a sushi restaurant, he meets a young woman Mi-do but passes out after boozing it up.  Mi-do takes him to her apartment where Dae-su puts the moves on her.  She explains that she will have sex with her just not now.  Cleverly, they track down the restaurant that supplied the dumplings he ate while imprisoned and use it to discover those who held him captive.  After justifiably threatening the owner, the only explanation for the confinement is that he “talks too much.” Dae-su must fight his way out of the prison past dozens of henchmen using a hammer. 

Then comes the really weird part.  The tail involves incest, rumors and the suicide of others.  Apparently, Oh Dae-su mistakenly spreads the rumor in school that his captor and his sister had an incestuous relationship, which caused false signs of pregnancy and eventual suicide.

 

Eventually we find out that the events surrounding Dae-su were orchestrated, as well as by using a hypnotist, to cause Dae-su and Mi-do to commit incest.  Woo-jin gives Dae-su a photo album. As Dae-su flips through of pictures of his family, he witnesses his daughter grow older in the pictures, until discovering that Mi-do is actually his daughter (the sushi chef).  The warden then betrays Dae-su with a similar photo album ready for Mi-do.  A horrified Dae-su begs Woo-jin to conceal the secret from Mi-do, groveling for forgiveness before slicing out his own tongue as a symbol of his silence.  

We then see Dae-su working with a hypnotist in winter to help him forget the tragic and even evil deeds that he has done or done to him.  Our last glimpse of Dae-su is an expressionless face—no one knows what his fate will be. 

Old Boy is highly credentialed; it won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and high praise from the President of the Jury, director Quentin Tarantino.  Voters on CNN named it one of the ten best Asian films ever made.  The film currently has a rating of 8.4 on IMDb, being the highest rated Korean movie and the 88th best movie of all time on IMDb Top 250.  No small feat for a foreign film not made by Kurosawa.  Moreover, an American remake is planned for release in 2013 directed by Spike Lee starring Samuel L. Jackson.  In its country of origin, South Korea, the film was seen by 3,132,000 filmgoers and it ranks fifth place for the highest grossing film of 2003.

What do I think about this film?  It is one hell of a movie.  The film is original, complex and unpredictable, all of the elements I think a good movie should have.  Old Boy is also well cast and has an ending that I believe is intentionally vague generate conversations and differing opinions.  It is a hard film so be ready, but by all means necessary give the Old Boy a try, you might be surprised even if you don’t like foreign films.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Movie Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

20 responses to “Old Boy (2003) you come out 15 years older after watching this film.

  1. Tysoncarter

    September 11, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Nice write up – one of my all time favourite movies :)

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    • jpfmovies

      September 11, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Good choice, I don’t know if there is a more original story out there. It deserves more publicity than it gets.

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    • jpfmovies

      September 17, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Tysoncarter–for my IMDB top 250 review how about 7-Samurai?

      Like

       
      • Tysoncarter

        September 17, 2012 at 3:35 am

        Have you already reviewed it or would you be doing it for my site? Either way sounds great :)

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        • jpfmovies

          September 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

          No I have not reviewed here yet because of the magnitude I think this movie deserves. So I would just as well do it for your IMDB top 250 and maybe have a like here to send it to your site since it is for your reviews. Do you allow clips like I do in my site? I hate doing them without it but if you don’t we can figure a way around like maybe a link to you-tube or something. What is the space requirement and when do you want it by–please give me a deadline or I’ll never get to it!

          JPFmovies

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          • Tysoncarter

            September 21, 2012 at 3:10 am

            drop me an email dude – tysoncarter@hotmail.co.uk and Ill go through it with you. But yeah clips are fine :)

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            • jpfmovies

              October 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

              So I am dropping you an email . . . how can we move forward?

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            • Tyson Carter

              October 10, 2012 at 1:54 am

              Have you emailed me? Im sure I replied to every email I got? My apologies if I didn’t, try again :)

              Like

               
            • jpfmovies

              October 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

              Yeah Several times–I dont know what the problem is do you use and sort of IM?

              Like

               
            • Tyson Carter

              October 13, 2012 at 3:30 am

              I get other emails fine, no idea what is going wrong. Do you have your email address publicly posted on your site so I can email you that way? If not, Im on twitter @Tyoncarter if you want to direct message me it there?

              Like

               
            • jpfmovies

              October 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm

              Here send me an email to newjpfjunk@gmail.com and I will reply to it how’s that?

              Like

               
            • jpfmovies

              October 31, 2012 at 3:09 am

              newjpfjunk@gmail.com–my review is 16 pages single spaced so I am trying my best to shorten it.

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            • Tyson Carter

              October 31, 2012 at 10:33 am

              16 pages!! Bloody hell :) Ill drop you an email buddy

              Like

               
            • jpfmovies

              November 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

              Did you send me an email yet?

              Like

               
            • Tyson Carter

              November 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

              Yeah, just done it again, last time I typed some info, this time its pretty blank just to see if you get it!

              Like

               
  2. Andrea

    September 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    First and foremost I have to say that I would love to tell you how I felt about this movie in person, however, I have no tongue. This movie was absolutely twisted. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next, something completely unexpected happened every time. The ending of the movie was perhaps the most disturbing. He realizes that he has been intimate with his own flesh and blood and yet, I believe, he wants to maintain the relationship with his daughter, even though he himself is sickened by the thought. I believe that he uses the hypnosis as a way to forgive himself for the sins that he has committed both in the past and in those he will continue to commit in the future. Excellent write up as usual JP :)

    Like

     
    • jpfmovies

      September 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      I could not have put it better my self.

      Like

       
  3. BonnieF

    September 17, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Hey, what happened to your search bar? I’m pretty sure you used to have one…

    Like

     
    • jpfmovies

      September 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      I moved it to the top of the right hand column.

      Like

       

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