Michael J LeRose’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Even though I'm no better than a beast - don't I, too, have the right to live?”
A fascinating, violent, and twist-filled mystery for the ages, Oldboy is the stuff of legends in Korean cinema.
The film brilliantly adapts the film noir style, and gives us another addition into the “neo-noir” film movement. All the visuals you’d expect from a film noir are here: titled camera angles, chiaroscuro, etc. However in Oldboy, we are also given some gorgeous neons, and some cool almost “trippy” sequences. Those of course work well with the themes of hypnosis, and whatnot.
Another trademark of film noir is the blurring of lines between good and evil, and Oldboy takes that trademark and dials it to 11. Our “protagonist“ Oh Dae-su is quite a morally grey person. As the film goes on this becomes more and more apparent.
Our “antagonist” on the other hand, who I won’t name since it’s a spoiler, also becomes more and more morally grey as the plot goes on.
Plus there’s the obvious...
Anyone who knows anything about this movie knows that it has some very well choreographed, brutal, and quick-paced action. This movie would go on to influence other neo-noir films, and action movies as a whole.
The story is also quite good. As I said in my opener, there are plenty of twists and it really kept my interest the whole time. My advice, try to go in as blind as possible.