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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance [Import]
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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Before he made the notorious cult hit Oldboy, South Korean director Chan-wook Park created Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, an equally gruesome yet elegant meditation on revenge. Desperate to get a kidney transplant for his dying sister, a deaf and dumb young man named Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin, Save the Green Planet!) kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy industrialist named Park (Kang-ho Song, Shiri). Despite Ryu's best intentions, things go horribly awry, setting in motion a series of escalating revenges--to describe the plot in more detail would undercut the movie, because much of its power comes from the spare and skillful storytelling. Chan-wook Park is careful to ground the audience in the characters' emotional lives; when the violence begins, the bloody events unfold with the hypnotic power of the revenge tragedies of the Shakespearean era, which had over-the-top plots and littered the stage with bodies, yet were full of rich poetry. Park's eye for startling images and careful editing creates a visual poetry, grotesque yet often haunting. Certainly not a film for everyone--squeamish viewers had best beware, while anyone who wants their violence flagrant and guilt-free will be disappointed--but cinephiles looking to have their hearts squeezed along with their stomachs will enjoy Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Vengeance is the first installment in the Revenge Trilogy, and it certainly sets a good foundation for the films to come.
The film opens with a somewhat trite/cliched storyline (brother needs to save dying sister), but the means to the end is where this film will grab you.
I you are solely buying this film for its "shock" value (which would be unfortunate, as the cinematography is excellent), you will be happy to know that this flick does have its share of punctured arteries, sliced ankles and...uh...err...pools of urine. YES..!!!
However, keep in mind that these violent events will not be widespread -- they are sporadic at best and only used out of necessity for the main character(s).
In terms of tone and pacing, the film does move at slow pace. This is good in that it will evoke more emotion toward the characters...but you will not feel the "rush" that normally comes with a Miike, Noe, or Tarrentino film. Once again, this is not OLDBOY.
But nonetheless...if you like "these kinds" of movies, overall Mr. Vengeance will not leave you feeling like your money was wasted. Plus you get a bonuse disc (35 mins) of other Asian releases satisfy your hunger for more.
I only gave this film a 4-star rating because of the unavoidable comparison to OLDBOY...a film that will own your soul.
I hope this helps...
DIONYSUS JONEZ IS THE FUTURE..!!!
The film revolves around the lives of a deaf-mute and his sister who requires a kidney transplant. A kidnap attempt to raise money goes tragically wrong, and much blood-letting ensues. The ending makes me wince to this day. My only quandary with Park is that he holds certain scenes too long. He needs more discipline in the editing room. Green hair playing with the little girl for ten minutes or burying a body for another ten minutes while a very annoying device character and a mentally challenge kid of some sort wanders about causing mayhem, I started to look at my watch. It all comes together in a blood bath of revenge.
The performances all around were decent. I liked Du-Na-Bae and felt she was lively and interesting; Ha-kyun Shin also did well considering he had no lines to speak of. However Song was a mystery to me, he only had one moment (the one that I have already mentioned) where I felt he did something worthy of note, the rest of the time his was a non-performance. Aside from him, I think everyone was OK but that the material and the delivery just wasn't there to support them.
"Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" is a very interesting take on Korean revenge mythology and modern society. But what that take is I'm not sure. This one is necessary for film aficionados, just for the camera set-ups and stunning color. I also think that this film delivers an important message. To exact vengeance on someone because you are hurting only makes more people hurt, and it doesn't stop yours.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is like cutting into raw tuna.
I have never seen anything like this. This is more disturbing than any American/Japanese cinema combined.
Horrifyingly disjointed, disturbingly real--because it could happen to any one of us.
These Koreans. They can make movies. Jesus Christ.
The story of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance follows Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun), a deaf and mute man who has a sister that needs a kidney transplant. At first Ryu tries to donate his own kidney to her. However, when he finds out that he has the wrong blood type, he attempts to go through the black market where they promise him a kidney transplant for his sister and 10,000,000 won in return for one of his own kidneys. The deal goes awry, so Ryu and his revolutionary girlfriend, Cha Yeong-mi (Bae Doona), plot to kidnap the daughter of his boss Park Dong-jin (Song Kang-ho).
There have been many movies about vengeance, and with only a few notable exceptions (such as Tarantino's Kill Bill) most vengeance films that come out these days feel repetitive as it's all been done before. The brilliance of each part of Chan-wook's trilogy is that they're highly unconventional for movies dealing with this subject matter. Borrowing from whodunit flicks and Hitchcock, in the end you question the identity of the protagonist and antagonist of the story. The vengeance genre always thrives on the idea of gray areas, but you always have a strong sense of who's at fault. That's not the case with a Park Chan-wook film because the bad guy could very well be the one in need of revenge.
The acting in this film is equally as brilliant as Park's direction and script. Many people may assume that playing deaf and mute might be easier than working with a speaking part, that couldn't be further from the truth. Having to convey a character's emotions, thoughts, and convictions without uttering a single word or sound is extremely difficult, but you never once question Ryu's beliefs or his devotion and inner struggle for his sister. Song Kang-ho, an acclaimed South Korean actor who worked with Chan-wook on his first film, Joint Security Area and in the acclaimed monster comedy-horror flick, The Host, also performs brilliantly as the tortured father whose daughter is kidnapped by our protagonist.
If you still have yet to check out Oldboy, I highly suggest you see this one first. Although if you have seen Oldboy, then make sure you check this out to see where it all started. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a wild ride. If these movies had been made in America, they would have revolutionized the idea of the vengeance flick forever.
The plot is so simple yet so complex. The direction is so elegant yet so hard-hitting. The simplistic nature of the story makes the descent into hell so shocking and captivating. You don't realize there is no going back until it's far, FAR too late.
Ryu is a deaf/mute who works in the loudest factory in the world, doing a really depressing job. His sister needs a kidney transplant, but they don't have the money to pay for it. He cannot give her one of his own because their blood types do not match. Ryu decides to go to black market organ traders to trade one of his own for one that matches his sister. Waking up naked and kidney-less in an abandoned building he now needs to raise money for his own kidney.
Ryu is now fired from his job by President Park, who is downsizing the company. His anarchist girlfriend Yeong-mi convinces him to kidnap Park's daughter and hold her to ransom. From then on, things get very, very, VERY heavy and the idea of who exactly Mr. Vengeance is is blurred and sympathy is felt for almost everyone. Revenge comes at a high price and seemingly never ends. Not that I am saying forgiving and forgetting is the way. But this movie will make you think twice about getting your own back.
The violence is spontaneous and extremely graphic without ever feeling exploitational. Sometimes it has a darkly comic feel to it, the rest of the time it's goddamn hardcore. You'll wince a great deal during this movie, that's for damn sure.
Park Chan-wook directs with such beautifully composed images that are far from the the garish MTV-style action/thriller movies produced in Hollywood these days. I don't want to sound like some sort of snob who proclaims all foreign films to be great and all Hollywood to be crap but it's not very often that Hollywood makes a film like this unless it's a remake. Written in a mere 20 hours in a single massive, creative outburst, this movie seems to have genius laced through every minute of it's running time.
Not a date movie, not a whogivesadamn pig-out movie. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a film you will be sucked right into and you'll be far from happy when you emerge at the end. But what a horrific ride!
The DVD is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby/DTS 6.1 sound.
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