This is the sort of film that reminds me why I love Korean cinema so much. I had meant to see it for years and am so glad I saved it up. This is the fascinating story of Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-Sik) who gets abducted one night after a drinking binge and is locked up in a sort of private prison for fifteen years. During that time no-one will speak to him, tell him what he has supposedly done or how long he must remain confined. It is based on a Japanese Mange written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. It is the second part of the trilogy preceding Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and followed by Sympathy for Lady Vengeance - and they are excellent too.
He is finally released and given a mobile phone and some serious cash. He sets out for vengeance on those that had wronged him and on his travels he meets and falls for a young and attractive sushi chef who he moves in with right away. He soon finds he is being watched and followed but the years of being locked up have made him resilient and fit as he had little else to do whilst being alone, other than build himself up. I do not want to spoil the plot but the more he finds out the more complex his situation becomes, with violent consequences.
The acting is superb, no-one is a passenger and director Park Chan-Wook does a brilliant job. This is violent, visceral and yet stylish. It had me on the edge of my seat for most of the film and it is nearly two hours long, so that is some achievement. It is full of great lines that are heavy with poignancy, like - "whether a rock or a grain of sand; in water they both sink alike. And that is the whole point of this film; we are all equal when faced with the unspeakable truth of our own depravity. This is a must see for anyone even slightly interested in Asian/World cinema, I strongly suggest watching them all in order as you will get so much more from the experience . It is an 18 certificate and contains violent scenes and adult themes, but it will stay with as a stunning piece of cinema.