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

Universal acclaim- based on 314 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 314

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  1. 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.
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 ad infinitum. Maybe you'll learn of its beauty somewhen. Expand
  4. 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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  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 better than others. Expand
  9. 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. 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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  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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. 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. Collapse
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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 not true HD but other than that perfect Expand
  19. 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 .
  20. 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.
  21. 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) 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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  22. 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 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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  23. 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 seems like it is getting too long but keep on watching, the ending is well worth it. Highly recommend! Expand
  24. Jul 9, 2012
    8
    Chan Wook Park directs this violent revenge film with style. The fight sequences are the best because they
  25. 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 deal with violence. Expand
  26. 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
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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 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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  30. 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 brutal violence. I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys Quintin Taratino movies, or any revenge movies for that matter. Expand
  31. 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!
  32. 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, 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
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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.
  37. Jun 8, 2014
    10
    A powerful film, with a powerful cast, Park Chan-wook's Oldboy is great by all means. It is rare I feel sympathy for a villain, but this film makes it happen with the great writing that went on with it. If you have a soft stomach, this may not be the film for you as it is a revenge film. Like most revenge films it is brutal and, without spoiling anything, has an event occur that was rather harsh to stomach down. If you can get through that, you will end up watching a piece of art in motion. A true masterpiece. Expand
  38. Jul 3, 2014
    6
    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.
  39. Aug 15, 2014
    10
    I normally avoid foreign films but this revenge drama is simply flawless, with the over the top violence and the brilliant acting elevates this ingenious film to a must see.
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.