zuhair vazir’s review published on Letterboxd:
If ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance(2002)’ is a melancholy tale of passion, told with heart-warming and implicate methods and ‘Oldboy, 2003’ is a whole-hearted, hammer-swinging Manga-revenge meets Freud’s ‘Chapter 7’, then ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’ is fish-tank therapy, where revenge is exacted merely for the sake of catharsis and closure of the trilogy. Park Chan-wook is kind, if he wanted he could’ve made the audience feel hollow and terrified, maybe even neurotic like ‘The Bishop’ (Giorgio Cataldi) from the extrafilmic ‘Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, 1975’, watching a girl being subjected to torture, through the binoculars. No, the soldiers do not waltz to ‘Son tanto triste’ in the end instead they each enjoy a slice of the cake.
The film is simply stunning in everything it does. The emphasis on Geum-ja Lee’s (Yeong-ae Lee) beauty and the red eye-shadow go a long way in excavating hidden and dangerous passions, hidden all over the film for the keen viewer to appreciate and consume. The man in the end turns out to be the brother from ‘Oldboy’. Perhaps Chan-wook wanted to seal the trilogy tight and keep it in a spool-box for generations of filmmakers to study.
Watch it as it turns in to a dream and takes you on slightly bumpy ride across the twisted yet genius mind of Park Chan-wook.
Also, pay attention to the opening credits – after that you’re on your own, enjoy.