• Studio: Tartan
  • Release Date: Mar 25, 2005
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 345 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 345
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  1. Jun 17, 2011
    10
    I read critics of people who try to explain that this movie has flaws, that Park Chan-wook is overrated or that this movie's a load of bull. Then I learn what movies they like and it all makes sense. This movie is one of the very few masterpieces that exist in human history. If you don't like this movie or if you think you see a flaw then I ask you to watch again and again and again adI read critics of people who try to explain that this movie has flaws, that Park Chan-wook is overrated or that this movie's a load of bull. Then I learn what movies they like and it all makes sense. This movie is one of the very few masterpieces that exist in human history. If you don't like this movie or if you think you see a flaw then I ask you to watch again and again and again ad infinitum. Maybe you'll learn of its beauty somewhen. Expand
  2. Dec 10, 2010
    10
    This is the movie that prompted me to dive, head first into Korean drama. The second instalment of the Vengeance trilogy, and by far the best of the three. Oh Dae Su is a modern day Monte Cristo (as is the antagonist, the sociopath) But while the latter is imprisoned by demons of his mind, poor Oh Dae Su is imprisoned in the literal sense. When he is released, its vengeance VS freedom.This is the movie that prompted me to dive, head first into Korean drama. The second instalment of the Vengeance trilogy, and by far the best of the three. Oh Dae Su is a modern day Monte Cristo (as is the antagonist, the sociopath) But while the latter is imprisoned by demons of his mind, poor Oh Dae Su is imprisoned in the literal sense. When he is released, its vengeance VS freedom. Too many times, he could have simply walked away from it all, and lived a happy life, but instead chose the path to vengeance, which leads to one of the most hideous immoral and perverse endings ever. Im not gonna spil it, but the reasoning behind his imprisonment is a bit contrived- and it could have been something a bit more solid, but it is still believable, if you put yourself in the antagonist's mind. Now lets talk art- the cinematography is breathtaking. Obscure angles, too-wide shots, split screens...all this with BOLD bright colors and high contrast, make this movie incredibly pretty to look at. Theres some pretty epic gorey scenes with a hammer, and a sweet fighting scene set to a beautiful score (This is one of my favorite movie soundtracks, gogo Vivaldi!).
    Its a tragic tale of two mens revenge. One man in the end, dosent get to kill his adversary(and the closure he gets is pretty crappy, once he finds out the why, but hey, when your dealing with a psycho, what can you expect?), while the other succeeds in completely ruining the others life.
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  3. Apr 4, 2013
    10
    This movie was a masterpiece. This film is not like any western film that hit the big screen, you can say this movie is completely original. Park Chan-wook does an amazing job of delivering this dark story in a way that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. This movie is very brutal and definitely not for people under the age of 18 because of the topics it deals with and the brutalThis movie was a masterpiece. This film is not like any western film that hit the big screen, you can say this movie is completely original. Park Chan-wook does an amazing job of delivering this dark story in a way that keeps your eyes glued to the screen. This movie is very brutal and definitely not for people under the age of 18 because of the topics it deals with and the brutal violence. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys Quintin Taratino movies, or any revenge movies for that matter. Expand
  4. Sep 23, 2011
    10
    Masterpiece. Critics who gave this movie negative reviews probably didn't understand it or it's simply not their taste. The violence may also be a bit too raw for some. But if you're a true movie fan, within 1 hour into this movie you'll realize that you're watching a true work of cinema art. From the intriguing storyline, raw character portrayal and excellent direction to the explosiveMasterpiece. Critics who gave this movie negative reviews probably didn't understand it or it's simply not their taste. The violence may also be a bit too raw for some. But if you're a true movie fan, within 1 hour into this movie you'll realize that you're watching a true work of cinema art. From the intriguing storyline, raw character portrayal and excellent direction to the explosive twist ending, filled with underlying messages and morals, this is one movie you will never forget. You might even learn a thing or two about revenge. Expand
  5. Sep 10, 2011
    9
    "Oldboy", a Korean revenge thriller, differs from those western revenge films such as "Kill Bill", "Machete", or "Inglourious Basterds". It doesn't use sword and blood to define revenge, but thought provoking words and tension between the main characters. It's a 'revenge' movie that builds itself unlike other revenge movies.
  6. CoontZM.
    Apr 12, 2005
    2
    Overrated!!!
  7. Oct 5, 2012
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A highly overrated movie , it seems that people are taken by "visual candies" and cinematography that they loose focus on the plot and story.
    The movie opens high and intense and grabs you from the beginning , and you'd want to know why Dae-so was imprisoned , but when he gets out and as soon as he meets Mido the first thing that comes to your mind is that she's his daughter, although they try to push that idea away later after that , still that's the first logical explanation you got , so that ruins the big surprise in the end.

    Also the fight scenes were very strange... why all those (thugs , gangs , security personnel....whatever they are) why they didn't have guns and just shoot him ?!! why are they carrying baseball bats ? and why are they breaking them on walls?!!
    and if his prison room had security camera why they let Dae-so continue digging through the walls all that time? and why didn't he block the sleeping-gas tubes?

    And in the final scenes, Really all that was because of a "Rumor"?? 15 years in prison and make him **** his own daughter for a "Rumor"!!! and it wasn't a "Rumor" !! he said what he saw, what actually happened ...!

    Woo-Jin should've just kicked Dae-so's ass in school and that's it , end of conflict.
    I don't know how things happen in Korea but when the young school girl was pregnant or appeared pregnant no investigation was done by the parents or by school or anyone !!

    Dae-so gave good emotional acting moments towards the end , but cutting the tongue was just too much , he could've just killed Woo-Jin and got back to his daughter...

    And the Final scene made everything worse, after all what he knew , that Mido is his daughter and that he was hypnotized to love her for the revenge , even-then Dae-so still went back to hookup with Mido..!!

    The Story is everything in a Movie no matter what genre it is even if it's a psycho / horror or even sci-fi , the story should always make sense.
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  8. danb.
    May 14, 2005
    3
    It's just so... not good. if you want a wacky korean movie go see Save the Green Planet instead.
  9. Jon-Jon
    Oct 2, 2008
    6
    The film kicks off brilliantly and at times is genuinely absorbing but, unfortunately, it fails tie up the story convincingly enough to make it a must see. The histrionics at the film's climax and the cringingly puerile motives at the story's core, spoil an otherwise enjoyable and stylish film.
  10. BobA.
    Feb 18, 2006
    2
    After a thrilling, original premise, we take a two hour trip down mystery lane toward an incredibly unsatisfying solution. The filmmakers must have known this, when they decided to throw in another twist at the end (done to shock us on a pretty shallow level) since the original puzzle solution wasn't worth 2 hours.
  11. Terry
    Apr 20, 2010
    10
    Excellent.
  12. AlC.
    Nov 30, 2005
    10
    Stunning performanse, stanning soundtrack, and ofcourse story!!!
  13. philip
    Apr 5, 2008
    10
    It was the best movie in my life.never fet so emotionally shocked.a true love story.
  14. MichaelH.
    Oct 15, 2005
    10
    It is the best revenge flm ever! Just watch it!!!
  15. JamesM
    Dec 20, 2005
    10
    I'm sorry critics, but it looks like you're just going to have to accept it: Asian cinema rocks and it's going to take over. This is one of the best.
  16. OhDaeSu
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    A masterpiece. One of the best ever. :)
  17. BradV.
    Mar 23, 2005
    10
    This is the best film to come out of Asia since the Kurosawa days. Oldboy is a monumental achievement by any standard. It takes the best of eastern cinema and cuts down the melodrama, replacing it with the western style of directors like Fincher and Arronofsky. Oldboy rules!
  18. jason
    Mar 29, 2005
    4
    It was billed as an action movie. it started out as an action movie. it lied. for 2 hours and ten minutes it lied to the audience who sat on their seats waiting to see some amazing fight choreography like that of kill bill or any other sonny chiba movie. however it was far from these. and i'd like to say to all the people that gave this movie a 10 that pushing the boundaries of It was billed as an action movie. it started out as an action movie. it lied. for 2 hours and ten minutes it lied to the audience who sat on their seats waiting to see some amazing fight choreography like that of kill bill or any other sonny chiba movie. however it was far from these. and i'd like to say to all the people that gave this movie a 10 that pushing the boundaries of society's tastes and what they consider to be "off color" or disgusting does not create art. yes the cinematography is wonderful in this movie, but the story and plot have too many unfounded and limp moments that the joy of seeing this movie is totally ripped away. don't waste $10 or 2 hours of your time going to see this movie. i wish i hadn't. Expand
  19. Jan
    Jan 8, 2007
    6
    Very slick but ultimately too sadistic and hollow to fill out its overlong runtime with meaning. Oh, and killing four live octopi (it wasn't just one) can never be justified in making a film.
  20. StuartW.
    Mar 27, 2005
    5
    I am really into Miike, Takeshi and the recent craze for asian cinema and the hype surrounding this film got me very excited. Man, was I disappointed. This is one empty, incoherent mess of a movie. Firstly, for a revenge thriller, there are only a couple of fight scenes, and the clash between eastern stylisation and an attempt to be realistic and gritty creates one of the limpest fights I am really into Miike, Takeshi and the recent craze for asian cinema and the hype surrounding this film got me very excited. Man, was I disappointed. This is one empty, incoherent mess of a movie. Firstly, for a revenge thriller, there are only a couple of fight scenes, and the clash between eastern stylisation and an attempt to be realistic and gritty creates one of the limpest fights scenes I've yet witness. The use of an Ozu style rigid camera removes any excitement from this sequence, and when compared to the early part of the film, which shamelessly rips off Fincher, it's extremely disappointing. Still the concept and first half hour are very well thought out and entertaining. The film then veers into several illogical and dull avenues in order to setup it's genuinely harrowing twist. Unfortunately the impact of the twist is lessened greatly by the improbability of the situation and the shallowness of the story. It even tries to shock with a couple of Miike-lite stunts, which don't work at all. There is none of the moving symbolism of Battle Royale or the uncanny terror of Audition. Overall, a disappointment. Expand
  21. MattR.
    Nov 7, 2007
    0
    My question is, what is the point of this movie? Besides leaving you with the feeling of being raped. This movie sucked. If you enjoyed this, you probably secretly desire incest with your children. Or you just lack complete empathy or moral center as a human being.
  22. Jackie
    Aug 17, 2007
    0
    Absolutely fucking horrific. Good people are tortured in unbelievably vile ways for having done nothing at all; everyone in the film is pointlessly disturbed and it leaves one with absolutely no satisfaction at the end. I didn't feel that justice had been done, which is the point for me of films like this, I just felt like I'd seen some cool fighting and needless suffering. Absolutely fucking horrific. Good people are tortured in unbelievably vile ways for having done nothing at all; everyone in the film is pointlessly disturbed and it leaves one with absolutely no satisfaction at the end. I didn't feel that justice had been done, which is the point for me of films like this, I just felt like I'd seen some cool fighting and needless suffering. Watch this if you want to destroy your faith in humanity, watch the far superior Lady Vengeance to have it restored. Expand
  23. Nov 8, 2012
    8
    This movie leaved me uncomfortable after and slightly depressed, They're only few movies can made individual paralyzed after this bloody and horrible truth. I still don't know what inside of the director's mind of how he made this film.
  24. MathewB.
    Jul 30, 2005
    7
    Fun... but it's subtext is non-sense. Great junk food... tasty, but add's up to nothing. All of the directors carefully over-stated themes are contradicted in the narraitive.
  25. VinceH.
    Mar 30, 2005
    9
    Scott Foundas is one of my favorite film critics, but I must say he completely missed the point of this film. While I agree with him that Park is way overrated and nowhere near the great world-cinema auteur people think he has, he has an undeniable talent for imaginitive and original visual and thematic ideas that are fun to bear witness to. I wasn't a big fan of his previous films, Scott Foundas is one of my favorite film critics, but I must say he completely missed the point of this film. While I agree with him that Park is way overrated and nowhere near the great world-cinema auteur people think he has, he has an undeniable talent for imaginitive and original visual and thematic ideas that are fun to bear witness to. I wasn't a big fan of his previous films, but this is by far the best and certainly one of the better movies to come out this year. Expand
  26. drsuess
    Apr 30, 2005
    6
    Mediocre.
  27. JayW.
    Apr 1, 2005
    6
    Although the story turns out to be disarmingly simple, this intelligent psych thriller is encumbered with an excess of improbable - even childish - mega-violence. The "R" rating is excessively generous.
  28. munshikp.
    Apr 19, 2005
    10
    Trilling!!!
  29. RyanA.
    Apr 9, 2005
    10
    THE BEST REVENGE MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN. This movie is visceral. It starts, sucks you in and takes you on an enthralling cinematic experience right up until the very end. I don't want to say anything else. Best to watch without reading any review or watching any misleading trailer. Throw away your preconceptions, (especially anyone whose only conception of asian cinema is kill THE BEST REVENGE MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN. This movie is visceral. It starts, sucks you in and takes you on an enthralling cinematic experience right up until the very end. I don't want to say anything else. Best to watch without reading any review or watching any misleading trailer. Throw away your preconceptions, (especially anyone whose only conception of asian cinema is kill bill and chop socky flicks.) You won't be let down. My favourite movie of 2003. Plot, Acting, Direction, Cinematography, its all there in spades. Also, It is miles above any of these straight-forward U.S. revenge flicks kill bill, man on fire, and the punisher. Oldboy is what a real revenge movie should be like. The only movies that come close are the superb british film by Shane Meadows: Dead Man's Shoes (2004) and Chan-wook Park's previous film (a heartwrenching morality tale) : Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002). However neither are as complete a cinematic experience as Oldboy. (BTW...I find it funny how many people here complain about the mega-violence, especially when most all of it is IMPLIED. It just shows the talent Chan-wook Park has in bringing the audience into the picture.) WATCH IT! Expand
  30. tomb.
    Jun 17, 2005
    10
    I watch epic movies such as LOTR and Gladiator, also Last Samurai. i now belive that this is my fravourate movie of all time. judge for yourself.
  31. MikeH.
    Jul 3, 2005
    10
    Moviegoers who only dine on Hollywood fare and are starving for sustenance should gorge on "Oldboy" for it is a delicacy; but much like the main character's choice of entree's it will not be easy to swallow for those who make a place at the table.
  32. JackD.
    Jul 1, 2006
    10
    Incredible film that pushes back the boundaries. I hate being outsmarted and it doesn't happen much, but this is a film that manages it with some style.
  33. TimS
    May 20, 2008
    10
    Jackie, the point of the movie is not to destroy all your faith in humanity, but to question it. Park actually portrays a good view of humanity. Oldboy tells us that revenge is not the best option. By stripping bare Dae-su and then recreating him as an animalistic beast he is basically showing the depths of human destruction, and how far the want for revenge is from that lowest point. Jackie, the point of the movie is not to destroy all your faith in humanity, but to question it. Park actually portrays a good view of humanity. Oldboy tells us that revenge is not the best option. By stripping bare Dae-su and then recreating him as an animalistic beast he is basically showing the depths of human destruction, and how far the want for revenge is from that lowest point. This movie is as close to a masterpiece of cinematography and plot as you could find... The man is a creative genius hell bent on showing the beauty of the human spirit! Expand
  34. JamesJ.
    Sep 16, 2008
    10
    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. One of the best films I have ever had the privilege to watch. It is a must see film.
  35. TerenceP.
    Jan 7, 2009
    10
    Absolutely, my favorite, not one of my favorite, this is absolutely the best film and will still be in my whole life. this movie is the most brilliant thriller that has ever made. To every director and wannabes on Earth, this is the main text you shouldn't miss at all, shut your mouth and go for it!!!!
  36. ErikM.
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    An amazing movie that some critics obviously dont get because there still hoping movies lie brokeback mountain and derailed will rock. Screw you critics, Asian cinema has taken over.
  37. JonathanZ.
    Oct 3, 2005
    8
    After hearing everyone talk about Oldboy in my East Asian Cinema class, I decided take the plunge and see it at the Nuart. I didn?t know what to expect, which is probably a blessing; expectations can go a long way towards ruining a film. Dae-su, the protagonist, starts out as a useless drunk. Then, seemingly for no reason, he is held in a room for fifteen long years, left with only a After hearing everyone talk about Oldboy in my East Asian Cinema class, I decided take the plunge and see it at the Nuart. I didn?t know what to expect, which is probably a blessing; expectations can go a long way towards ruining a film. Dae-su, the protagonist, starts out as a useless drunk. Then, seemingly for no reason, he is held in a room for fifteen long years, left with only a television to entertain him. His meals come from a slot under his door, and every once and while he?s knocked out with sleeping gas. When he wakes up, his hair has been cut and he?s been given a shave. Through his TV, he learns that he is being charged with the murder of his wife. Someone clearly has revenge on his mind, but who? And for what purpose? Freud would approve. Since the plot hinges on a central revelation, I won't say anything else about it. Instead, I'll talk about some standout scenes. In a cinematic moment that has become infamous already, Dae-su (who looks just beastly with hair teased within an inch of it's life) walks into a sushi bar after being released and asks to eat something "alive." He chomps into a live octopus, but before he can finish, he faints, one tentacle still squirming. On a visceral level, I was repulsed. But then I remembered that this guy just missed out on more than a decade of living and just wanted to feel vital again. In some strange way, my heart went out to him. Eventually, Dae-su figures out where he was incarcerated. So great is his fury that he storms in without any forethought, armed only with a small hammer that he picks up along the way. In a long shot of a hallway, he does battle with his former jailers, displaying an emotion I can only categorize as ?primal rage." Even a knife in his back can?t do much more than slow him down. What made the scene captivating was the fact that violence was used to highlight an emotion, rather than for mere shock value. If you have a strong stomach and a taste for black humor, you'd do well to see this movie. Expand
  38. joshf.
    Mar 24, 2005
    10
    The critic from LA Weekly is, put simply, lame. Oldboy kicks all kinds of ass and is much different than anything you've ever seen. I can't wait till the official DVD release.
  39. GoW.
    Mar 24, 2005
    10
    Oldboy is, quite literally, the best movie I have seen in five or six years.
  40. StephenS.
    Mar 28, 2005
    9
    The acting and directing in the movie was superb, although I must admit some scenes were drawn out, or a bit confusing. Overall, the movie is action packed and keeps you glued to your seat throughout the entire 2 hours and 10 minutes. Not for a minute was I bored, and I was constantly wondering "What's going to happen next?!?!".
  41. JamieS.
    Mar 28, 2005
    10
    One of the best films i've seen in many years. by the way that photo you're using is a bit of a spoiler.
  42. AndrewT.
    Mar 29, 2005
    10
    What a shocker! total revenge, real jaw dropping! just watch and you will see what i mean. can see great effort by the director even the wall papers used in the room.
  43. JonW.
    Apr 16, 2005
    9
    Amazing story and great cinematography topped with emotionally wrenching acting makes this a great movie. The ending drags a little otherwise is a top notch flick
  44. krisk.
    Apr 24, 2005
    10
    This has to be one of the greatest films ever made, its a masterpiece, chan wook park has to be one of the best directors out there today.
  45. jimb.
    Apr 28, 2005
    6
    I was completely underwhelmed by the violence, sin city and kill bill are way more over the top than this film. And neither of those films touch Ichi the Killer gore wise. So it was pretty dissapointing on that level. Other than that, it was a pretty good art film, I had to really concentrate to follow everything, but the style and story was intruiging enough that I wanted to. Up until I was completely underwhelmed by the violence, sin city and kill bill are way more over the top than this film. And neither of those films touch Ichi the Killer gore wise. So it was pretty dissapointing on that level. Other than that, it was a pretty good art film, I had to really concentrate to follow everything, but the style and story was intruiging enough that I wanted to. Up until the collosally trivial ending. The more I think about it, it's harder to enjoy the rest of the film, when all the weirdness and revenge boils down is finally revealed. I kept waiting after the big secret, because I thought something else was going to come out and shock me. Maybe it's a cultural thing. It's bad if it happened in real life, but it just doesn't fit the tone of the rest of the film really, and seems pretty trite in context. So maybe watch the first hour and 120 minutes and walk out so you can imagine an ending that's bound to be a thousand times more interesting that what really happens. Expand
  46. BrutusO.
    Apr 4, 2005
    6
    Over-rated. Basically for those that think Quentin Tarantino's b-grade aesthetic is some kind of advance in movie making. Lots of post-modernist style at the expense of character development, lots of portentous invocation of taboo subjects (most notably incest and obsessive revenge), lots of over the top emoting about existential crisis - and lots of gratuitous violence masquerading Over-rated. Basically for those that think Quentin Tarantino's b-grade aesthetic is some kind of advance in movie making. Lots of post-modernist style at the expense of character development, lots of portentous invocation of taboo subjects (most notably incest and obsessive revenge), lots of over the top emoting about existential crisis - and lots of gratuitous violence masquerading as action. But little of real substance. Interesting and amusing in places, but lamentably shrill and inept in others. A dead end in film-making. Watch a Renoir or a Kurosawa film instead. You will feel better for it. Expand
  47. joel.
    May 2, 2005
    10
    Movie had excellent acting and always kept you guessing. excellent.
  48. WilliamG.
    Jun 1, 2005
    9
    The less that one knows about this film going into it, the better. Oh Dae-Su's quest for the truth is a painful one, both emotionally and physically. Noteworthy is how violent this movie is. While not extreme or over-the-top a la KILL BILL, several fight scenes and dismemberments occur that will induce flinching. Also of note is the consumption of a live octopus (which was actually The less that one knows about this film going into it, the better. Oh Dae-Su's quest for the truth is a painful one, both emotionally and physically. Noteworthy is how violent this movie is. While not extreme or over-the-top a la KILL BILL, several fight scenes and dismemberments occur that will induce flinching. Also of note is the consumption of a live octopus (which was actually the fourth take. Yum!). However, only five characters actually die on-screen. OLDBOY is a compelling revenge epic. If one gets the chance (and has the stomach), they should see it and pay close attention. It is a knockout. Expand
  49. LawrenceP.
    Jul 28, 2005
    8
    Overated, well yeah!...but there is some classic moments here.
  50. DuaneB.
    Nov 1, 2006
    10
    No, this movie isn't going to be for everybody, especially for those who truely enjoy mainstream movies in America, where plot, and acting have been replaced by big names, over the top digital effects and an overall warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the movie. For those who look for something more than American cinema this is at least worth a look. It is rare that I feel I need to No, this movie isn't going to be for everybody, especially for those who truely enjoy mainstream movies in America, where plot, and acting have been replaced by big names, over the top digital effects and an overall warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the movie. For those who look for something more than American cinema this is at least worth a look. It is rare that I feel I need to take a shower after I watch a movie, and every time I sit down and enjoy it I wonder if I truely am a bad person for doing so. The first time I saw it I was literally stunned. I couldn't speak, I couldn't really do much of anything but digest what I had just witnessed. I'm not sure I can think of any other movie that had that effect on me, and even now I am a bit unsettled after watching it. The style, the topics, the twists, it is all unlike anything most people have ever and will ever see because the American audience prefers to shelter itself from movies like this. My advice, if you want to look outside the box experience Oldboy at least once, start to finish, I'm willing to bet that unless you are an avid watcher of Korean cinema, you won't soon forget the plight of Oh Dae-su. Expand
  51. KenR.
    Jan 13, 2006
    10
    Excellent film.
  52. M.Daye
    Feb 4, 2006
    10
    Absolutely unmissable. Choi Min-Sik, Yoo Ji-Tae and Kang Hye-Jung all excel in their roles.
  53. Jan
    Jan 20, 2007
    10
    There is one disappoiting thing about this movie that got to be mentioned: The violence it contains and the violence the movie is advertising with that make a lot of ppls expect nothing more but a brainless b-movie massacre like for example kill bill is.

    In fact Oldboy is smarter, more entertaining, more emotional and more stunning than most of the high rewarded mainstream hollywood
    There is one disappoiting thing about this movie that got to be mentioned: The violence it contains and the violence the movie is advertising with that make a lot of ppls expect nothing more but a brainless b-movie massacre like for example kill bill is.

    In fact Oldboy is smarter, more entertaining, more emotional and more stunning than most of the high rewarded mainstream hollywood movies. An overall masterpiece in many ways and a loss for every movie fan not watching it.

    Clear 10/10
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  54. CzeslawK.
    Mar 5, 2007
    7
    Although at times visually mesmerising I found it hard to not leave the cinema. Painful viewing left me feeling empty. Not for the weak minded, its stretched my mind. I am left asking myself wether or not that defines a good movie, one that makes you feel bad or uncomfortable.
  55. LisaB.
    Jun 4, 2007
    8
    I just saw it, and will definitely go back for the other two in the trilogy. Although I'm not giving it a 10, and can understand some of the criticism here, but that anyone could use the attribute "hollow" to describe this movie is beyond belief. Greek tragedy at the core, and really a remarkable meditation on the idea of vengeance. With little dialogue, captures complex I just saw it, and will definitely go back for the other two in the trilogy. Although I'm not giving it a 10, and can understand some of the criticism here, but that anyone could use the attribute "hollow" to describe this movie is beyond belief. Greek tragedy at the core, and really a remarkable meditation on the idea of vengeance. With little dialogue, captures complex relationships and emotions. Expand
  56. JeremyI.
    Oct 29, 2008
    10
    Out of all the movies I've seen in the past 5 years, this movie was the best and it was made ..5years ago. It's rare that I'm still thinking of a movie days after i watch it. It totally screwed my head up. The ending was Crazy! It just kept pouring on and on and on with twists that I could never have thought of.
  57. Novak
    May 10, 2008
    10
    10,without a doubt.I cried both-first and second time while I was seeing it.Deeply disturbing but utterly beautiful masterpiece.
  58. Terry
    Oct 17, 2005
    9
    Excellent.
  59. TelyS.
    Mar 25, 2005
    7
    While not even close to "best film to come out of Asia since the Kurosawa days" (btw, how do you even define 'the Kurosawa days'? He made films for 50 years!) Oldboy does resonate with undeniable style and brutality, both physical and emotional. I'd even argue that it's dangerously close to being a pro-incest movie. Whatever floats your boat.
  60. StanL.
    Mar 29, 2005
    10
    Simply put, it was one of the best movies in years. To the LA Weekly reviewer, in my humble opinion, you stink.
  61. timm
    Apr 21, 2005
    9
    Ridiculously good. not at all what i expected, nobody in the theatre uttered a peep or dared to move the whole time. loved the raw-ness and direction. the kind of movie that leaves a lasting imprint on the mind. also, i didnt know korean girls could be so bangin.
  62. GregD.
    May 29, 2005
    10
    Absorbing, deranging, aesthetic, melodic.... trully a must-see.
  63. AndyG.
    Aug 24, 2005
    7
    Dazzling and sophisticated this film may be, but the fact remains that it's built on a contrived and totally unconvincing plot.
  64. DougK
    Aug 28, 2005
    10
    Great film, one of the greatest existential dramas in memory. BTW, when 40-year-old-virgin is given similar rating as Oldboy, one can easily voice a volume of criticism of the critics (and perhaps the mysterious rating system of this web site). Is it possible that the last trace of intelligent thinking for the betterment of cinema are readily abandoned under the overwhelming Hollywood Great film, one of the greatest existential dramas in memory. BTW, when 40-year-old-virgin is given similar rating as Oldboy, one can easily voice a volume of criticism of the critics (and perhaps the mysterious rating system of this web site). Is it possible that the last trace of intelligent thinking for the betterment of cinema are readily abandoned under the overwhelming Hollywood assault of sophomoric titles after titles ? Expand
  65. matta.
    Sep 26, 2005
    10
    This movie is a unqualified classic. Cinematography, art-direction, screenplay, acting, direction--all pitch-perfect. I've seen some complaints about some of the plot twists, but really, they are so minor compared to other films of this sort that are now hailed as classics that I think this film deserves to be forgiven.
  66. Ryencoke
    Oct 18, 2006
    10
    Easily the greatest movie ever made.
  67. [Anonymous]
    Apr 21, 2006
    10
    This is one of my all-time favourite movies, and I've only seen it twice (over the last two days).
  68. RickY.
    Jan 28, 2007
    10
    I can't remember much of anything after seeing this film except feeling completely emotionally spent. I was too busy picking up the pieces of my shattered jaw off the floor.
  69. JamesL.
    Sep 28, 2007
    10
    This has to be one of the best made films of all time. This movie is far better than Lady Vengeance; with all due respect, I don't know what Jackie is saying. Of course Oldboy is dark, sick and disturbing, but that's also what makes the film so original . The director does a good job to get people to think about what the outcome will be without losing momentum .
  70. urkai.
    Dec 21, 2006
    10
    One of the best ever....holllywood can dream about a movie like this.
  71. Aug 15, 2011
    10
    A perfect film. No film that I've ever seen has been able to balance a great script with superb directing, flawless acting and a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. Oldboy ticks all the boxes for me and is truly a masterpiece. Park Chan-wook has proved to be a modern master film-maker.
  72. Sep 13, 2010
    9
    Korean film about a man imprisoned for 15 years without really knowing why.
    He is released then looks for revenge.
    Stylish, slick, gruesome & some fantastic twists & turns.
    I'd heard a lot about this film & it really is as good as people say.
    Min-Sik Choi is brilliantly intense as the lead with a good supporting cast as well.
  73. Aug 27, 2010
    9
    I'm typically not a big fan of the "Asian-Extreme" genre that seems to be blowing up these days overseas, but "Oldboy" has a philosophical hinge to it that keeps its storytelling from flying out of control to pure exploitation. Strangely enough, the movie has the pacing and feel of a Hitchcock film, but the violence and over-the-top twist brings a whole new perspective to the genre.
  74. Oct 2, 2010
    10
    This is by far the BEST foreign movie i've ever seen, and one of the first times i agree with the majority of critics. 'Oldboy' was a lot better than the other two movies in the vengeance trilogy, both of which i found terribly dull in comparison. i really liked the whole movie but i felt that the twist at the end was really well done and was the factor that made this film so much betterThis is by far the BEST foreign movie i've ever seen, and one of the first times i agree with the majority of critics. 'Oldboy' was a lot better than the other two movies in the vengeance trilogy, both of which i found terribly dull in comparison. i really liked the whole movie but i felt that the twist at the end was really well done and was the factor that made this film so much better than others. Expand
  75. Jan 24, 2011
    10
    A personal favourite and one of the best films from asian cinema. The plot centres around the story of Oh Dae-Su, who has been locked up in a room for 15 years. His lack of knowledge about his captors or the motives behind his imprisonment so drives him into insanity, with TV being his â
  76. Sep 23, 2011
    9
    A spectacular revenge movie that has intense action and a devastating emotional impact. Creatively directed and brilliantly written, Oldboy begins with an intriguing premise and builds on it in an unexpected way, culminating in a powerful and affecting conclusion.
  77. May 17, 2011
    10
    One of my favourite Korean films and a good introductory film in to the darker realms of South Korea's movie catalogued. This is a compelling revenge story littered with over the top action, comedy and twists. Of the trilogy that it is part of this one stands out the most for me because of the hammer profile fight scene. First time I saw that I was blown away and had to re-watch it. OfOne of my favourite Korean films and a good introductory film in to the darker realms of South Korea's movie catalogued. This is a compelling revenge story littered with over the top action, comedy and twists. Of the trilogy that it is part of this one stands out the most for me because of the hammer profile fight scene. First time I saw that I was blown away and had to re-watch it. Of course, this film is not for the faint of heart and even though most of the guys in college that I showed the film to were pretty desensitized to this kind of violence, I had a girlfriend cover her eyes multiple times. It gets gruesome but never too ridiculous ala some Takashi Miike films. Oldboy is a classic and the visual style and imagination of the film keep bringing me back every so often to share it with those who aren't familiar with films outside American borders. Expand
  78. Jul 10, 2011
    8
    This film starts off slow, really got into it though. Full of mystery and thrills. Not sure on the ending, think it could of been alot better then what they went for. Worth a watch though.
  79. j30
    Nov 27, 2011
    9
    This adrenaline pumping film leaves you pined to your seat. As the plot twists and unravels, so will you. You can't take your eyes off of the screen.
  80. Feb 4, 2012
    7
    It's good but not as good as people make it out to be. Yeah the violence is pretty good and the twist is fascinating none the less. But at times I felt nothing for the main protagonist. It`s hard to care about him because there's really no info on the guy. And the room he stayed for 15 years is just so crazy and bizarre that it's hard to take the movie serious.
  81. Dec 29, 2011
    10
    74 Critic Reviews score? on of them gave it a score of 10?! ha ha ha
    this movie is a reason why movies are art,now with all hollywood you can rarely say that.
    if you like a strange,good story and one of the best fights in cinema then watch this movie.
    it should be a must watch film for all american directors to learn how you make and film fight scenes,no fast, cut scenes etc.

    incredible movie
  82. Aug 4, 2013
    8
    It may be a little slow and its surreal moments may come off as unintentionally hilarious, but Oldboy is extremely powerful and captivating that is filled with brutal violence, a visceral tone and plenty of shocking twists.
  83. Mar 4, 2012
    9
    Hollywood are so far behind places like Korea at the min its shocking. What with Oldboy,man from nowhere,Host and the good the bad and the weird Korean films are on a roll. Oldboy is a little odd at first but is truly a modern masterpiece. The acting is amazing and so is the atmosphere. You owe it to yourself to watch this film. the only reason its not a 10 is the blu ray release. its notHollywood are so far behind places like Korea at the min its shocking. What with Oldboy,man from nowhere,Host and the good the bad and the weird Korean films are on a roll. Oldboy is a little odd at first but is truly a modern masterpiece. The acting is amazing and so is the atmosphere. You owe it to yourself to watch this film. the only reason its not a 10 is the blu ray release. its not true HD but other than that perfect Expand
  84. Dec 23, 2011
    10
    possibly the best film ever made !., it is the raw characterization tat has to be applauded. A film tat boldly ventures on understanding the very equilibrium of a human mind between sane and insanity . u end up feeling sympathetic to all the characters my the end of the movie .
  85. Zal
    Feb 27, 2013
    9
    Thrilling, violent, and unpredictable, Oldboy was a joy to watch. There was never a dull moment. The acting was fantastic and the violence was engaging. Be warned: this movie is not for the faint at heart.
  86. May 17, 2012
    10
    Quite possibly one of the most imaginatively shot, brilliantly conceived and amazingly paced revenge thrillers of the past quarter century. In fact, if I were forced to list my favorite movies period to be made since my birth in 1980, this would most definitely be near, if not AT the top of that list. Park has very quickly, in my mind (ever since my exposure to his Joint Security Area)Quite possibly one of the most imaginatively shot, brilliantly conceived and amazingly paced revenge thrillers of the past quarter century. In fact, if I were forced to list my favorite movies period to be made since my birth in 1980, this would most definitely be near, if not AT the top of that list. Park has very quickly, in my mind (ever since my exposure to his Joint Security Area) skyrocketed to the top two or three directors of the generation. He not only can tell a story, perfectly balancing the surreal and aesthetic qualities that make cinema interesting, not only can he present those concepts in such a way as to allow the viewer to suspend disbelief and become personally invested in the overall arc, but he can do so without throwing his intellect out the door as many directors are wont to do in the interest of making something flashy to hold their viewers interest.

    Now that seems like very high praise in a general sense toward the director, and it is, and yet this film and the films preceding and succeeding it in his roster move a step further into something wholly visceral, tragic and unimaginably investing. This film in particular, is quite possibly the only film to have been made in the last decade that I would actually be perfectly comfortable placing the name "Shakespearean" to. The tragedy of this film, Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance are such that if this director, and for that matter the actors, and crew who put themselves into this film aren't remembered along with the likes of Aronofsky, Goddard, Welles and the like it would be a true miscarriage of justice. I would recommend any person with a love of tragedy, action, mystery or just a love of cinema in general seek out this film, I've watched this from beginning to end at the very least two dozen times (not including the playthroughs I've done with the commentaries on the Tartan "Asia Extreme" boxed set I own), and I've yet to become tired of it. One of the great classics of our age, if not all time in cinema.
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  87. Mar 27, 2013
    9
    Oldboy at its most basic is a revenge story, this film is however much more complex than that. It is a barrage on the viewers senses. Visually stunning as well as emotionally visceral. On the surface the narrative is very straightforward, but little is as it seems throughout the entire film up till the last few minutes. Not for the weak of heart Oldboy has some of the most violentOldboy at its most basic is a revenge story, this film is however much more complex than that. It is a barrage on the viewers senses. Visually stunning as well as emotionally visceral. On the surface the narrative is very straightforward, but little is as it seems throughout the entire film up till the last few minutes. Not for the weak of heart Oldboy has some of the most violent sequences that I have witnessed.

    Oldboy does many things extremely well. From the opening sequence we are treated to a score that adds much to the film. Having a great score but knowing how to properly use it so as to not allow it to overwhelm the film is not an easy task. Park does it perfectly in Oldboy. Park also uses the split screen masterfully in this movie. This is another device that I have seen used to the detriment of a movie, not so here. Park is an artist with the camera. One sequence in particular stands out for me. The main character comes to a location that is familiar to him and important to a memory that he is trying to recall. As he recalls this memory he chases the memory of his younger self through the sequence. It is beautifully shot, we never lose our sense of time or place as can easily happen in such a scene.

    The visuals and score are not the only positives in Oldboy. The narrative is gripping and tense. Our protagonist is on a mission of revenge for what has been done to him. We are along for the journey every step of the way. We feel every emotion that he is feeling as his story progresses. We feel his fear, torment, and hatred. Like all good revenge stories as he begins to reek his havoc we wonder at what cost it is coming. Are his motives pure, and even of they are is it worth the price it is costing his soul. Oldboy handles these themes masterfully.

    I have two issues with this film. The first is I was never completely on board with the character of Mi-do. It is not a spoiler to say that we learn very early on that she has had a very similar experience to the protagonist. Despite this fact we are given she always seems to be much more aware than he is. He spends the film unraveling a mystery, she appears to understand most of what is happening but is just relying on him for protection from it. My second issue is the ending. While much is revealed in the last third and there are some very well done intense scenes, the last five minutes lacks the punch that a film like this needs.

    Oldboy is an amazingly directed film that is well worth your time. While you may not wish to revisit this world, you will be happy that you took the journey.
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  88. Jun 1, 2012
    10
    I loved this movie. The realism in this movie was really good. I love that they didn't go in the direction of Oh Dai-Su training himself into some kind of martial arts master during his imprisonment but that he became more of a raw brawler. Excellent acting, cinematography, and musical score. The story itself is a bit of twisted genius. There is a point in the movie where it seemsI loved this movie. The realism in this movie was really good. I love that they didn't go in the direction of Oh Dai-Su training himself into some kind of martial arts master during his imprisonment but that he became more of a raw brawler. Excellent acting, cinematography, and musical score. The story itself is a bit of twisted genius. There is a point in the movie where it seems like it is getting too long but keep on watching, the ending is well worth it. Highly recommend! Expand
  89. Jul 9, 2012
    8
    Chan Wook Park directs this violent revenge film with style. The fight sequences are the best because they
  90. Jan 28, 2013
    9
    Visually beautiful and creepy. Filled with twists and amazingly entertaining violence you just can't help but to love Oldboy. In fact, Oldboy even managed to get me to laugh a couple times and not because it was bad because it was supposed to. It's a Tarantinoesque Korean film that I would recommend to anyone! It's very interesting and engaging purely a must see so long as you can dealVisually beautiful and creepy. Filled with twists and amazingly entertaining violence you just can't help but to love Oldboy. In fact, Oldboy even managed to get me to laugh a couple times and not because it was bad because it was supposed to. It's a Tarantinoesque Korean film that I would recommend to anyone! It's very interesting and engaging purely a must see so long as you can deal with violence. Collapse
  91. Nov 10, 2013
    9
    A great movie, I don't know what the remake can add
    Yes it could have been better made but anyway a great love-drama-thriller that makes you question yourself
    Not everyone will be satisfied or even accept it's plot resolve;
    At the end you're rewarded with a remarkable soundtrack
  92. Nov 9, 2012
    10
    The film that introduced to Korean Cinema and still my favorite Korean film to date. An incredibly affecting and powerful tale of revenge. A masterpiece.
  93. Oct 6, 2013
    9
    "Oldboy" is a mind-bending revenge tale that ventures into the emotional extremes, and there is no chance of emerging unscathed. Full of grand passions, bloodthirsty violence, with a wicked sense of jet black humor, "Oldboy" is a sadistic masterpiece. The director, Park Chan-wook, is one among several filmmakers who've made South Korean cinema what it is today, and requires a viewing at"Oldboy" is a mind-bending revenge tale that ventures into the emotional extremes, and there is no chance of emerging unscathed. Full of grand passions, bloodthirsty violence, with a wicked sense of jet black humor, "Oldboy" is a sadistic masterpiece. The director, Park Chan-wook, is one among several filmmakers who've made South Korean cinema what it is today, and requires a viewing at least once by serious moviegoers.

    The plot is utterly unique: Seoul businessman Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi), is kidnapped one rainy evening by parties unknown. He awakens in a seedy motel room complete with hideously tacky wallpaper, threadbare carpet, a double bed, and a television but in reality, it serves as a cell. Days, months, and years go by with no explanation given for his incarceration. A daily meal comes through a tiny slot in the door, and every so often sleeping gas seeps in as well. From the television in his room, he learns that he is the prime suspect for the murder of his wife and now, even if he escapes, he's a wanted man.

    Fifteen years later, Dae-su awakes one day on a grass-covered roof of a downtown building in Seoul, outfitted with a finely tailored suit, a cell phone, and a wallet stuffed with cash. Before Dae-su can begin a new life, he must answer several key questions about his imprisonment. Only after he has these answers can he exact his revenge and turn the page. Meanwhile, his captor decides to turn Dae-su's quest for answers into a cruel, exhausting game that will push him to his limits. Additionally, he has just five days to not to only find out why he was held captive, but to also identify his tormentor, and seek his revenge.

    The committed performance by Min-sik Choi strikes a genuinely tragic note amid the mayhem and cartoonish excesses of violence. He does a marvelous job walking on the edge of insanity, while retaining likability and compassion from the audience. Superlative acting across the board, and a pulsating score to compliment the arresting imagery, while the true astuteness of the script will reward only on further viewings.

    "Oldboy" has a wild, twisty storyline on such an epic scale emotionally, and it rarely slows down to consider the logic of some of its most outrageous plot contortions. The revelation in the third act is a bit of a letdown considering the thrilling, ambitious set up. Cinematic in the extreme, the movie has an emotional core that will leave some viewers stunned, yet others disgusted. As tough as it is to endure it is brutal, yet brilliant and it is undoubtedly a work of art.

    "Oldboy" is the second installment of The Vengeance Trilogy, directed by Park Chan-wook, preceded by "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002) and followed by "Lady Vengeance" (2005).
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  94. Jul 3, 2013
    10
    I'm not even going to write a review, I want to watch this movie over and over again. Why read a review when you could be watching this movie? GO WATCH OLDBOY!! Its a truly amazing film!
  95. Jul 28, 2013
    10
    Oldboy is a fu****ng great masterpiece. You will never see a film like this. An artistic film like this It will make you feel pain and sadness but after watching oldboy you will just feel empty. It has great direction and that violence is so disgusting that you will want to watch that film again and again. Oldboy deserves your attention and you will be thrilled by its amazing plot, actorsOldboy is a fu****ng great masterpiece. You will never see a film like this. An artistic film like this It will make you feel pain and sadness but after watching oldboy you will just feel empty. It has great direction and that violence is so disgusting that you will want to watch that film again and again. Oldboy deserves your attention and you will be thrilled by its amazing plot, actors and an ending that you would have never expect. Thumbs up to the sky for that film. A must-watch masterpiece. And I am not lying. I wouldn't score it 10 out of 10 if it was not a great film. Expand
  96. Jun 18, 2013
    10
    Entertaining story, live octopus eating The pace is a little off but worth watching. I also vouch for the other 2 in the trio and thirst for that matter.
  97. Apr 12, 2014
    10
    Oldboy is a sick and twisted revenge thriller with shocks and twists through the entire movie. Hands down the best ending in movie history. A well done movie, a must see.
  98. Dec 1, 2013
    10
    It can't be missed. This is one of those films that grab your heart by the aorta and shake it around violently until you have to take a deep breath and recover from the trauma. You don't need to read a review of this movie, you need to watch it tout suite.
  99. May 9, 2015
    9
    One of the best endings I have ever seen hands-down. The main twist itself is phenomenal, though I thought that the reveal as to why the protagonist was imprisoned was a bit of a let down. The movie is unflinchingly bleak, but absolutely stunning because of it.
  100. Jun 4, 2014
    9
    Mind-blowing film. Lee Woo-jin is one of my favourite movie villains ever, he's the perfect combination of genius and crazy and the way his story is told was brilliant. The story is disturbing but if you expect that going in to watch then you'll likely enjoy yourself, but if not that you will definitely appreciate the film for the masterpiece it is.
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. 60
    Oldboy has the fatal air of wanting so desperately to be a cult movie that it forgets to present itself as a coherent one.
  2. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    80
    A wild, intensely cinematic ride into two men's burning desire to get even.
  3. Whatever its oversteps and excesses (I do think Park ran a little amok with the computer gimcrackery), Oldboy has the bulldozing nerve and full-blooded passion of a classic.