Reviews of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and related work
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
Modern South Korea. A woman needs a kidney transplant, but her blood type gives her a long and dangerous wait. Her deaf-mute brother goes to the black market. That doesn’t work out too great, plus the man is fired. He and his militant communist girlfriend decide to kidnap a little girl to get new money for a legitimate transplant that’s just become available. It’s a sweet girl, but things continue not to work out. One man on each side of the tragedy seeks bloody revenge at any cost. They head for each other.
Slow horror, tragedy, heinous disturbance. Revenge drama. A virtually immaculate conception and execution of a long look down into a bad place.
‣ Oldboy (2003)
An ordinary man is suddenly abducted and left in an unfamiliar little apartment in South Korea. His jailers keep him alive and give him TV, but he has no idea why he’s in there. One night, the man thinks he has found his way out. Instead, he is set loose by a powerful enemy so obscure that the prisoner did not guess his name in fifteen years of captivity.
A bit of action, mystery and classically peripeteic horror/tragedy. The writing is the weak link: Major abuse of hypnotism, the nemesis role and detective work that’s always correct, despite pathetic clues.
I think of the excellent extended action scenes as the logical conclusion from what was suggested back in Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924), with the continued development of choreography and cinematography.
‣ Lady Vengeance (2005)
Should have focused more on the final “joint effort” instead of flashing back and forth through silly tableaux.
References here: Voir (2021).