Arielrocks5’s review published on Letterboxd :
(Part 2 of "Arielrocks5’s List of films to do for Todd Gaines’ Challenge! (George Lucas Special Edition Gen X Director’s Cut)".
Challenge: A movie listed on my favorite movies list .)
I don't know exactly how I can do justice to how much of a horrifying piece this film really is, but I can certainly try.
"Oldboy" is the film equivalent of your worst nightmare. No, not showing up to school in your underwear. Losing your loved one. Losing your own life. Or anything else you would think of as your worst nightmare.
I'm talking about the nightmare you've had, where you're simply trapped. You're left alone, within a small, isolated space. Trapped for what feels like years on end. Being used as a pawn for someone's deranged pleasure. Once you're let go, you're still within that same nightmare.
It never seems to have an end. Constantly destroying the things you love until your down on your knees, begging for it to just, end. The type of nightmare you can't simply escape. The one you can't wake up from. The one that no matter what, always, is peering over your shoulder, wanting to creep back into your brain.
It won't end. It will never end.
By the end, if you do end up waking up, what are you left as? A man suffering due to someone's sick game? Or a monster finally getting his just deserts?
I can't really name another film that has portrayed that feeling so perfectly before. I'm one who frequently has nightmares. The ones that feel the most real, the ones that feel the most like life itself. As you can tell, "Oldboy" reminded me a lot of that feeling.
The idea holds more ground once you take into account many things not just with the story, but the way the film presents that story. What tipped me off the most was the editing. More specificity, the transitions. The way certain scenes moved from one to the other.
Nothing about it feels as if it's deliberately going out of its way to mess with not just the main character's head, but whoever happens to be watching his misery as well. Taking us further down the rabbit hole of vengeance, violence, deception, and the haunting truth of our characters' actions.
How what they've done has ruined the lives of those around them, all for the sake of one thing on both of their minds; revenge. It is clear what our lead seeks revenge for; being trapped for fifteen years, but what does our villain seek from this poor man? What did he do to hurt him to drive him to such horrible acts of inhuman decently?
Questions do have their answers, the real question is, do you think you'll be ready to handle them? Will you be able to be the same person, knowing the truth? How far will one person go to save the person they love? Well......I guess it all depends on how much you're willing to sacrifice in the long run off it all.
Conveying these themes are many shining accomplishments of technical wizardry, such as the famous "one take" Hallway scene, along with the transitions/editing mentioned above.
Simply having scenes involving such horrifying acts is bad enough, but the fact that they never break away from being completely in the frame of the camera, is something most will never forget.
Our lead portrays the many emotions a man would feel going through an experience like this; horror; depression; confusion; sick pleasure. It's all here, and it's all conveyed beautifully, as weird as that may sound to say.
All of this shall lead to an ending that left me in genuine shock and psychical sickness. I do think some of the plot is hard to follow at times, so it didn't leave that much of an impact until I read up on some details I must have missed while watching.
It wasn't exactly the twist that got me the most, it was what followed AFTER, the twist, so I'm hoping that this might be something that improves with a rewatch or something along the lines.
Really, what can be said about "Oldboy" is that everything you've heard about it is true beyond belief. It's a spellbinding, haunting, genuinely sickening deception of revenge within a world of never ending nightmares.....
Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone....