spring in a small town (mu fei, 1948)
revisiting the godfathers again

revisiting the 9s/geezer cinema: oldboy (park chan-wook, 2003)

[This is the seventeenth in a series that will probably be VERY intermittent, if I remember to post at all. I've long known that while I have given my share of 10-out-of-10 ratings for movies over the years, in almost every case, those movies are fairly old. So I got this idea to go back and revisit movies of relatively recent vintage that I gave a rating of 9, to see if time and perspective convinced me to bump that rating up to 10.]

In 2009, I wrote about Oldboy:

The violence, implied and actual, remains excruciating... it’s not cool at all … I’d call it gruesome and funny, which I understand is an odd combination. Oldboy’s narrative grabs the viewer from the start and never lets up. And the themes, of love and taboos, and the allusions, to Kafka and Memento, make Oldboy into a full experience.

I agree with the above. A second viewing made me feel like it was funnier than I remembered, and the gruesome scenes, while outrageous, do take place mostly just off the screen. The plot unfolds in a gradual fashion, with the key revelations being spaced apart just the right amount. Oldboy remains my favorite Park movie, but I still think it falls just short of classic status.


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