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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 28 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first film in the "revenge trilogy" by Korean director Chan-wook Park centers around illegal trafficking in human organs.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. You can't look away, not only because the carnage is so masterfully photographed, but because the director sucks you into his bleak, poetic, even sensible vision of cosmic brutality. Not for the faint-hearted!
  2. 80
    The only constant in Park's brilliantly cruel world is this: No matter how badly things seem to be going, there's a twist of fate lurking around the next curve that will make them worse.
  3. 75
    Savage yet spellbinding.
  4. Reviewed by: James Crawford
    A revenge tragedy as brutal and Byzantine as "Titus Andronicus," Park Chanwook's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance accomplishes a miraculous feat by being harrowing and humane in equal measure.
  5. When it comes to serving up diabolical horror with bold, sophisticated glee, Park, best known for "Oldboy," is right up there with Dario Argento, Guillermo del Toro and Takashi Miike.
  6. Reviewed by: Daniel Wible
    Certainly a stylish affair, but also an extremely bleak and unpleasant one.
  7. Reviewed by: Brendan Bernhard
    Slowly degenerates into a gory revenge thriller that is never thrilling, but is often boring and frequently repulsive.

See all 21 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Jun 19, 2013
    A very well done revenge film. The best thing about this film is that you really don't know who to root for by the end of the film. There really is no clear evil character or good character. The filming is great as well making good use of darkness and shadows when needed. Expand
  2. Aug 20, 2012
    An somehow to subtle piece of horrifying vengeance. It shows the devastating Side of Vengeance ending in the Death of a lot of people. But overall a not very satisfying experience. Expand
  3. Jul 13, 2013
    "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" is the first installment in what is one of the bloodiest cinematic trilogies ever embarked upon. A stylish blend of surreal imagery intertwined with pitch-black humor, and stomach-turning violence. As a director, Chan-wook Park possesses a remarkable eye for detail and framing, and he is simply unrivaled in his approach to modern Asian filmmaking. The films intricate plot appears fairly straightforward at first, but slowly, deliberately moves into uncharted waters.

    A deaf mute named Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) devises a kidnapping plot to pay for a kidney transplant for his dying sister that spins out of control into a bloody cycle of retribution. Ryu's scheme quickly, hideously backfires, making him one of two Mr. Vengeances in the film, both of whom are murderously intent on returning to a former state of grace that is no longer reachable.

    "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" relies heavily on its elaborate plot, which, when all else is stripped away, is really only a tale of family and the lengths people will go of the depths they will fall to to protect their own. Failing protection, vengeance rules the day and so Park's film descends, with its own stately grace, down the bloodied slope of life into the lowest reaches of humanity. The film is superbly made on all fronts, despite the morality issues and graphic violence. Once it crosses its own internal Rubicon, it becomes downright horrific, never allowing you to wake from a particularly arresting nightmare. Followed by "Oldboy" (2003) and "Lady Vengeance" (2005).

See all 10 User Reviews