Release Date: August 19th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center) by Tartan Films.
The Cast: Song Kang-ho, Shin Han-kyun, Bae Du-na, Lim-jeun, Han Bo-bae.
Directed by Park Chan-wook.
In Korean with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Ryu ( Han-Kyun) does not have enough money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant after he is laid off. A revenge tale begins after his attempt to hold his boss's daughter (Bo-bae) fails.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There are a few surprises in this revenge tale. For example, one surprise is the unpredictable plot. At first, Ryu appears to be the good guy, especially because he cares about his sister enough to want to save her life. However, after a series of plot twists, he eventually becomes the bad guy. It is not always easy to root for the bad guy, but this film does make it as much gory fun as Kill Bill. Despite the reliance on plot development, this is not a typical action thriller or suspense thriller--it is different from Kill Bill in terms of style. It is difficult to be thoroughly engaged because the pace is very slow and there is an absence of comic relief. On a positive note, what it does have is very stylish cinematography. There is also a lot of violence with a few scenes that are exceptionally graphic and cringe-worthy. Both aesthetic qualities enhance this film by giving it a consistent and appropriate grim, stark tone.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The basic message is that revenge leads to a lot of chaos and even more revenge from the opposite party. Violence is certainly not a good way to find a solution to one's problems no matter how big the problem is. Also, the ending is somewhat depressing but so is the rest of the film.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Minimal character development.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: Although its pace is slow and it relies heavily on plot, it has enough plot twists and stylish direction to make it an enjoyable--but very dark--revenge tale.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Fans of Kill Bill: Movie Theater (1st Run) Everyone else: VHS/DVD
The "S" Menu