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Oldboy (2013)Having net yet experienced the original, I went in to Spike Lee's… More Having net yet experienced the original, I went in to Spike Lee's Oldboy with an open mind, judging the film on its own merits. The result is a film that never feels quite right, despite some good efforts. It's a film that tries, yet yields to uneven execution. The films' premise is conceptually over-the-top and outlandish in its reasoning, following a man who finds himself confined in a hotel-room like setting for 20 years, only to be unexpectedly released, left to aimlessly search for his captors. To the film's credit, it features some strong actors, being headlined by Josh Brolin in an admirable performance, with character actors such as Samuel Jackson providing some more texture to the film. All of them work individually, yet the tones the actors bring on screen never quite mesh. Brolin is dark and brooding, Elizabeth Olsen is appropriately melodramatic, and yet Samuel Jackson and Sharlto Copley feel more farcical and self deprecating. This is undoubtedly a symptom of the film's larger problem, its tone. Lee gives us a film that never feels like it knows what it wants to be, giving us highly stylized fight sequences in one scene, followed by much more grounded and ostensibly straight material in the next. It's satirical in some instances, and very self-serious in others. There is never a successful balance struck with this, and thus the result is a film that feels confused and poorly conceived. This is not to say that Oldboy does not having any effectual scenes or successful elements. The stylized moments are gritty and well done, Brolin's performance is strong, the violence is disturbing, and there's a host of interesting elements on screen. The problem is the lack of cohesion, with the entire film not only feeling disjointed, but also rushed. The finale is not nearly as shocking as it should be, and the film's disturbing nature never quite resonates, simply because we don't know how to take in the film. 2.5/5 Stars
21 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes