Tartan | Release Date: March 25, 2005
8.7
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 429 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
384
Mixed:
26
Negative:
19
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6
Jon-JonOct 2, 2008
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 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. Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful
6
JanJan 8, 2007
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.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
6
SpangleSep 12, 2016
Oldboy is often cited as a masterpiece direct from South Korea. For me, it simply was not my thing. The violence was not too much for me, as is often the case. Though excessive in spots, Oldboy simply falls out of my range of enjoyment. As itOldboy is often cited as a masterpiece direct from South Korea. For me, it simply was not my thing. The violence was not too much for me, as is often the case. Though excessive in spots, Oldboy simply falls out of my range of enjoyment. As it stands, it is an entertaining ride with a disappointing conclusion that really lets the air of Park-Chan Wook's claustrophobic thriller.

Shot in a way that makes the viewer feel entriely claustrophobic alongside Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik), the film really does a great job capturing his anguish, loneliness, and torment, as he is locked up for 15 years for reasons unknown to him. The film's thrills continue as he meets the far too trusting Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung) and the mysterious Lee Woo-jin (Yoo Ji-tae), who is the reason he is locked up in the first place.

The fim's willingness to dive into shocking violence is a problem, namely the tongue sequence. It makes sense, but no thank you. Other than that, the acting is well shot and well choreographed, especially when Oh Dae-su fights the men in the compound. A masterfully shot sequence, it almost made me a believer. That scene in particular is not just well shot, but Chan-wook Park does a terrific job creating tension and thrills in that scene, as well as the rest of the way.

This is about where the noticeable positives stop for me, personally. My list of complaints is admittedly longer. Firstly, the beginning. Maybe I am dumb, but I barely realized it was the same guy at the beginning. I got what they were trying to do, but the beginning sequence of Oh Dae-su being very drunk and then winding up in this prison for 15 years was horrifically executed. It was incoherent and made no sense while watching it. I obviously figured out that was what happened at some point, but the film made no attempt to make it a coherent transition. Instead, it showed a drunk guy and then a guy locked up asking why he is being held with very little connection.

Additionally, the biggest complaint is the end. Oh Dae-su is held for 15 years because he saw Lee Joo-win have sex with his sister and then he told his friend who spread the news around the school. The sister killed herself as a result (oh wait, excuse me, she was dropped). That is why this happened. Even worse, Chan-wook Park then decided it would be fun if the film became absolute nonsense by having Oh Dae-su have sex with Mi-do who is his daughter. Brilliant twist really. How did he wind up doing this, you ask? Oh well Lee Joo-win, in his endless quest to get payback for his dead sister, had a woman hypnotize the two of them to put them in situations where they will fall in love. This is not a problem with coherence. I understood it. However, these explanations were less than satisfying. I was already torn on whether or not the overall tone and feel were up my alley, but the ending convinced me that Oldboy was simply not my thing. For me, the ending was not just unsatisfying, but outright dumb.

I get that everyone else loves Oldboy. That is fine. I did not hate it. I just would be hard pressed to say I like it. That said, the overwhelming praise will lead to me watching this one again later on. Though, it may be a while since it took me a while to watch it once to begin with since I was convinced it would not be my thing. Now that I have watched it, it seems that my initial impressions were correct. Though I loved the way it was shot and the action in the film is terrific, the incoherent beginning and awful conclusion is a major buzzkill. Sorry.
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6
MajorWienerJul 3, 2014
Overall an exciting indie film. The directing was especially accomplished. I thought that one of the major plot "twists" was too predictable though, which detracted, I thought, from the overall quality of the film.
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6
daviddelnorte23Apr 13, 2017
No me gusta criticar así las películas, pero tengo que decir que 'Oldboy' es una de las películas más raras que he visto nunca. Y es que quería darle una oportunidad al cine coreano y que mejor que con una película de la envergadura de esta.No me gusta criticar así las películas, pero tengo que decir que 'Oldboy' es una de las películas más raras que he visto nunca. Y es que quería darle una oportunidad al cine coreano y que mejor que con una película de la envergadura de esta. Dicho esto, no me parece mala película dado que esta dirigida y escrita magnificamente, pero para mí es una ida de olla, una fumada, una rayada, llamemoslo como queramos. Es una película que odio después de verla profundamente porque es el típico tipo de película que odio. La doy un 6 porque no puedo suspenderla porque a mí no me guste. Es una buena película por mucho que a mi me pese... Expand
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