Just imagine walking on the street, being kidnapped and being held in a normal apartment. You are free to move around the apartment and do you own things, but there is no way to leave. Every day you receive food through a hole in the door and every night you are forced to fall asleep as gas is injected into the room. You have no idea why you are there and how long it will be until you are released. Days turn into weeks, weeks slowly turn into years. What would you do if you are suddenly released after 15 years?
This is exactly what happens to Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi). What he does is to try to find who is behind it and why he was held for such a long time. When he was in his prison he saw on TV that he has killed his own wife (which he can’t have done) so he has no one he can turn to as they might turn him in. He’s all alone in trying to find the truth so he can have his revenge on those responsible.
This Korean movie tells its story exceptionally well. Min-sik Choi convinces, resulting in the viewer to really feel for him. There are moments where you really start wondering if he hasn’t gone completely crazy, like in a scene where he eats an octopus that’s still alive. This scene doesn’t use any special effect, it is all real. I wasn’t very shocked by the scene as I once saw something about this being a custom on either Discovery or National Geographic. I’m sure it will shock quite a lot of people.
Dae-su Oh slowly starts to find out the truth and steps on his path of having his revenge. His weapon of choice is a hammer. Before watching the movie this was one of the few images I had seen related to this movie and it actually was the reason I didn’t watch it before. I thought it would all be way to graphic and I really can’t stomach it. It also does not entertain me. I was glad to find out that director Chan-wook Park has chosen the same approach as Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs as most things happen off-screen. Because of this approach you will imagine the rest yourself without it actually seeing it.
The zenith of action in this movie is a scene in a hallway where Dae-su Oh fights against several henchmen and works his way through them towards the exit. It’s a beautifully choreographed scene, which reminded me of a scene in 300.
Besides the raw action, the story itself is amazing with a very shocking ending. This is a movie that will leave a big impression on you.
Interested in other movies which I’ve awarded a 10?
A complete list can be found here.