Sympathy for Lady Vengeance ★★★★

I liked this overall despite finding it a little hard to follow at times. The first two thirds of Lady Vengeance feels like a very elaborate setup for a much grander and more complicated story, but the film ultimately boils down to something extremely intimate. The last 30-40 minutes is pretty much perfect and almost feels like it could be its own short film, removed from the earlier context (although what comes before certainly adds to it). As a side note, it's interesting to see Park return to the snow motif that appeared at the end of Oldboy. The scene he used it in here is beautiful.

Park's aesthetics in general are intoxicating as usual. As they say, it's a feast for the eyes and impossible to turn away from even when horrific shit is going down. Some of the visual ideas he pulls off boggle the mind in their creativity and wordless relation of information. Every flourish isn't especially relevant, but it all flows gorgeously from shot to shot. His ability to inject jet-black humor into what is otherwise an ugly, bloody affair is ever present as well.

I wish the experience as a whole was more emotionally cohesive for me, personally. As I suggested, I was engaged, but emotionally remote through most of the film and it wasn't until the parents of the killer's victims were convened that things started to get really interesting.

Looking back, it's a very cleverly laid out story with a punishing series of gut-punches toward the end, but I think it could have been tighter. All the digressions weigh down the emotional meat of the story and divert some of the feeling that so desperately needed to be more concentrated.

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