Rejia’s review published on Letterboxd:
‘Oldboy’ was based on a Japanese eight volume manga of the same name released in the mid eighties. Inspiration was also taken from the Greek tragedy, ‘Oedipus’. Heavy use of metaphors further enhance themes of human suffering and injustice.
The premise to this gritty Korean New Wave thriller is WHO has and WHY is protagonist Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) locked up in solitary confinement for 15 years? The lead suspect is a maniacal rich industrialist who wants Oh Dae-su to pay for his sins. During the course of the film, heinous acts are committed by both antagonist and protagonist and we see the transformation of an irresponsible womaniser transform into an unstoppable force, hellbent on finding answers.
South Korean master, Park Chan-wook’s fantastical mystery runs on intense emotions. However no matter how disturbing the scenes get they are beautifully shot with attention to detail. Take for example, the corridor sequence, known for being one of the longest fight scenes of its time. Minimalist unrelenting and skilfully choreographed in its savage precision. Oh Dae-su lays waste his enemies who stand in his way to freedom. It’s a hollow victory when he does escape and the shocking reveal by the conclusion albeit extreme has a painful, bittersweet edge.