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)
A mistake others seem to make is to tag this film as "horror." Sure there is violence but it falls under the same type category as Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill. Even the title tells you that it is about vengeance, and there are no demons, evil spirits, or even serial killers in the normal sense. If categorizing the film it would be much closer to MacBeth than to any recognized horror film.
Others call the violence "extreme" but if you're a fan of modern horror or gangster films you can find much worse gore in mainstream releases. Much of it is like Hitchcock in that it occurs either off-camera or in the far background, so that the viewer is left to imagine much of the terror going through the victim's mind. By doing this the viewer becomes more actively engaged so that the scene has even more impact. (Note: if you want pure gross-out violence then try Ichi the Killer, which is also excellent.)
Although Oldboy and Lady Vengeance are excellent in their own right, when put against this film they come across as severely flawed. If you watch only one film from this director then this is the one to see.
This movie has some of Korea's best actors, has some great performances, and solidly delivers a poignant story. It's not for the squeamish though.
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