Reviewed by: Greg Mueller
I was promised a disturbing revenge movie and Oldboy doesn't really hit that mark. Oldboy is incredibly compelling and most of the acting worked, but it is oversold on how terrible Dae-su Oh's life gets. I loved the twists and reveals, but it never reaches what I was promised. The action scenes are wonderfully crafted and the sets are both beautiful and distressed. The cinematography is creative, but they use some very weird and hokey transitions that really don't fit in with the tone or style of the movie at all. I had a few minor issues, namely the age discrepancies with characters given their relationships (I don't want to give away any plot details, but it's very noticeable in a few instances), Hye-jeong Kang's unconvincing performance, and big believability problems. They put so much work into choreographing realistic fight scenes, but then in the next scene really push the boundaries of suspension of disbelief. Oldboy is incredibly compelling and well written and I recommend it to anyone who doesn't wind subtitles or understand Korean. I don't hold it against the movie, but not understanding Korean definitely happened my ability to get the whole story. There are many times where we see Korean text and unless it's mandatory for them to put up, they won't.