Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Revenge Was Never This Sweet
This is the story of Ryu, a deaf man, and his sister, who requires a kidney transplant. Ryu's boss, Park, has just laid him off, and in order to afford the transplant, Ryu and his girlfriend develop a plan to kidnap Park's daughter. Things go horribly wrong, and the situation spirals rapidly into a cycle of violence and revenge.
Well, hello there, Park Chan-wook.
Eschewing hyper-stylization for a spectacularly balanced view of anti-heroes, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a more-than commendable example of humanizing villainous elements of a character to, not surprisingly, evoke sympathy for archetypes that should otherwise be considered irredeemable, cartoonish goons and morally bankrupt thugs. Rarely have I seen such devotion to twisting violent, senseless acts I would otherwise find unnecessarily brutal or redundant into essential components of balancing that fine line between protagonist and antagonist. Somehow, and I think it's mostly due to smartly giving each '-agonist' a full act to develop their character, motivations, moral failings, and justifications for such, the final confrontation is one where I couldn't decide which one I wanted to…
This one has been on my South Korean watch list for a very long time now. In fact, I hadn't seen either of the Vengeance films despite being a fan of both Korean cinema, and director Chan-wook Park. Despite some valid criticisms and vapid blind fanboyism, Oldboy is still one of my personal favorites. Which makes the fact that I held off on this one for so long, very strange to say the least.
But it's better late than never! Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a bold and unique first step in the Vengeance trilogy that is flawed, but ultimately a good movie when mixed in with Park's other films.
The story runs in the vein of other South Korean…
Chan-wook Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a dark and disturbing, but strangely beautiful masterpiece of a thriller. It's odd just how different this is from the other Park movie I've seen, Oldboy, which is far more indulgent in its violence. It is a great movie on its own term but doesn't quite reach the emotional height of his first entry in his vengeance trilogy. Sympathy is a quietly affecting movie that creeps up on you and before you know it delivers with moments of genuine shock and anguish, elevated by the eerie calmness of the film. It is rather slow-paced and likes to keep the camera static, the dialogue scarce. The performances by the main cast is adequately understated…
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...
** mild spoilers herein **
.. just to be clear, fencing of human organs and giants of industry.
Having just re-watched Oldboy the other day, I was anxious to watch another in Park Chan-wook’s vengeance trilogy for comparison. Love here on Letterboxd for individual members of the trilogy seemed to all over the map, but with Oldboy garnering the most love. While I really liked Oldboy, and Park’s stylistic canvas and ‘suspension of disbelief’ storyline, I didn’t totally fall in love with it as I had for JSA .. the only other in his cannon I…
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is an interesting philosophical exercise spoiled by a style that's constantly sabotaging the film's underlying message. I appreciate Park Chan-Wook's intention to subvert a somewhat staid genre by showing the ugly (and ultimately unsatisfactory) side of revenge, but I can't rectify this stance with the obvious joy that Park has in telling this seedy, nasty tale.
The story is labyrinthine enough to defy easy description, but I'll say that it involves the interwoven tales of two people (one a deaf factory worker, the other a powerful industrialist) doing horrible things to each other (and having horrible things done to them), first out of desperation and then out of revenge. It's a very clever setup, as the…
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first film in Chan-wook Park's Vengeance Trilogy, which Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance complete.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a disturbing film with characters who do not deserve any sympathy. Every character makes bad decisions that lead to horrific outcomes. I found myself cheering for almost everyone to get killed, which is messed up. But perhaps that is exactly what Chan-wook Park was aiming for?
Although I was disturbed by the lack of a living moral character (two moral characters die early in the film), I found myself entertained by the story development. The film has a lot of violence, but it is clever about its delivery. For example, one character who is an electrical engineer hurts and kills people with electricity. There is nothing cliché or dumb about how the characters attempt to achieve vengeance, which is why I recommend the film despite the uneasy feeling it left me with.
My favorite of the Revenge Trilogy despite it being the most convoluted and perhaps nihilistic of the bunch, and that's saying something. I related very well to these characters, and that made their inevitable deaths hit a little harder than those in Oldboy and Lady Vengeance.
Beautiful images of horrible things. Terrible deeds from interesting angles. Hard to watch, but undeniably impressive.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
This is kind of a difficult movie for me to assess. It's well-made, not particularly boring, and has an ultimately strong message, I think, but what makes it ultimately fail for me is that it seems to rely almost solely on its violence to make its points. Make no mistake: I firmly believe that the brutality of the carnage was justified, and I have nothing against such shocking violence in films, especially films like this. But violence is such a manipulative, easy way to shock the viewers into submission, and without any decent characters or even a very good narrative, I can't help but feel that this was a much dumber and more unnecessary movie than many say, and wouldn't…
I'm not sure of how relevant 'cutting' is in this movie but it did set this movie far from other dark-themed ones. Chanwook has all my unending praise and I can't wait to watch Lady Vengeance. This movie is so original, especially the elevator scene. For me.
This film juxtaposes human needs vs. mechanical needs, by underlining the irony of the inharmonious yet crucially symbiotic nature of each, to the survival of a person in today's world.
This paradox starts somewhat innocently. When the main character decides to help his sister by donating his kidney, so she can get get a kidney from someone else with her blood type, his job at the technology manufacturing plant is jeopardized. Park, the film's director, then weaves this conflict into a vast revenge plot between two characters that embody opposite places on the socioeconomic spectrum.
Yet, it is not the plot that matters most, it is the tension that Park allows us to feel in almost every frame. The best…
Beautiful, and really difficult to watch, a bit too much clues with a really dark humor.
Director Park's detail direction is like a high quality sticky glue.
It's all about sad life,motivation and the emotion of humanity.Your life will be screwed once you made a wrong decision or we should blame that woman's suggestion?
Revenge is never sweet!
96/365 (365 films in 365 days)
Really really good. The cinematography was brilliant. The narrative was enticing and having the main character a mute was interesting. The swapping of hero/villain character roles towards the latter part of the film was done really well.