There are people who will say that I watch so many foreign films to appear cool. Well, I’ve got a beard, how much cooler do I need to be? No, I watch foreign films in a quest to find something different. I read Empire magazine every month in a quest to find Hollywood movies that are in any way interesting. I never find too many. I find a lot of style over substance, star vehicles and 3D animated animals.
What I really want is a great plot, great acting and to get to the end feeling in some way challenged, enlightened, enlivened, depressed – to get to the end feeling something – other than the need for a pee.
I’ve had Oldboy waiting to be watched for a while and I’ve no idea why I didn’t watch it ages ago (but I’m gonna blame the X-Factor). It’s superb, delivers everything I’d want from a film. An inventive, intriguing plot, brilliantly delivered and directed and with quite a few genuinely unsettling moments (without being a naughty spoiler boy – I watched a few bits through my fingers).
The story starts with a man being kidnapped and locked in a room for 15 years for no reason he can think of. He is then suddenly released and, after a few encounters, is challenged to work out why he was locked up. If I say any more than that I risk spoiling things. That is pretty much all it says on the back cover. As you can imagine, there is much in the plot to spoil. Like any story that revolves around a central mystery, you are taken through a well-paced reveal with a good number of twists and turns along the way. See how hard it is not to tell you what happens? You really need to watch it.
The direction is great too. There is some great invention. The most famous being the corridor fight scene, apparently shot in one take, it makes you want to always keep your hammer handy.
My only complaint is that the Blu-Ray print isn’t great. Although it is undoubtedly a little better than the DVD, so if you can get the Blu Ray cheap enough, go for that, but don’t expect much. The visuals are mixed, with some scenes quite grainy. It’s not a film you reach for when you want to show off your new TV. Quick nod to the soundtrack, I really liked the music. It wasn’t a typical Asian cinema soundtrack, perhaps highlighted by the fact that all the tracks are named after Hollywood films.
Also delighted to read that the intended Hollywood remake has been canned. There is no need, what do people have against subtitles?
Can the imaginary training of fifteen years be put to use? Yes it can.
Can’t recommend this film enough. I’m off to get the other two in the trilogy now.
Well done me, I didn’t say Kafkaesque… oh…