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South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook directed this violent and offbeat story of punishment and vengeance. Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is a husband and father whose reputation for womanizing is well known. One day, for reasons he doesn't understand, Oh Dae-su finds himself locked up in a prison cell, with no idea of what his crime was or whom his jailers may be. With a small television as his only link to the outside world and a daily ration of fried dumplings as his only sustenance, Oh Dae-su struggles to keep his mind and body intact, but when he learns through a news report that his wife… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Both brutal and lyrical, writer-director Park Chan-wook's existential nail-biter has torture scenes that will have you avoiding dentists, sushi bars and badly appointed hotel rooms."
‑ Jami Bernard, New York Daily News
"Quite an achievement then, and well worthy of its Cannes prize."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"..seems to be about the awfulness and inhumanity of vengeance. But watch how the film moves."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"Intense and dark but also humorous and moving, this is an ambitious film that fulfils its promise, despite an arguably overly protracted denouement. Excellent."
‑ Daniel Etherington, Film4
"Director Chan-wook Park keeps the suspense going for as long as possible."
‑ Joe Lozito, Big Picture Big Sound
"Shakespearean in its violence, Oldboy also calls up nightmare images of spiritual and physical isolation that are worthy of Samuel Beckett or Dostoyevsky."
‑ Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"It's hard to make an argument for Oldboy based on anything other than pure cinematics, but when the style speaks this loudly, it's an argument worth making."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"Vengeance here's a clever, evolving beast. Dae-su's guardian-like enemy stokes his bloodlust, embittering the free man's returning love of life. The climax is a scarlet swelling into Greek tragedy as truth, reprisal and justice smear."
‑ Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"One of the best imports I've seen in a while..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"Part character study, part action flick, the film seamlessly blends genres in an extremely satisfying way. The photography is spectacular - of particular note is a Escher-like staircase sequence that is simply extraordinary."
‑ Jason Gorber, Film Scouts
"There's a lot less here than meets the eye."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"It's mesmerizing and discomfiting, engaging the viewer on a visceral and an intellectual level."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"Banzai-violence kin to "Cast Away" about a man at time's cruel whim, "Oldboy"is an endurance test worth taking. Its conclusion is the most sadistic and destructively wrathful since "Seven," and the point of no return has rarely shocked this much."
‑ Nick Rogers, Suite101.com
"Vengeance, says director Chan-wook Park, is the most dramatic subject in the world. The problem with that view driving his filmmaking is that it seems to override his creative judgement, presenting us with cruelty as the vehicle for his cinematic jollies."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"As played by Choi Min-shik, Dae-su attains tragic stature. He's like a shaggy King Lear undone by his own foolishness."
‑ Beth Accomando, KPBS.org
More reviews for Oldboy on Rotten Tomatoes

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