october 7, 2006

The other night, my wife and I finished Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance Trilogy" when we watched Lady Vengeance. I was pretty disappointed in the movie. Actually, the trilogy started out with a huge bang -- Oldboy was a fantastic studying in revenge and vengeance. The violence of Oldboy was used in a way to beat (literally) home the theme of vengeance. It's too bad that the vengeance theme was lost in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance. The second film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was a bloody confusing mess that ended up just being unpleasant. The problem with Lady Vengeance was that it starts off trying to make us think that the main character had put together some elaborate plan. And that this plan included all of her old cellmates. But, all that work turned out to be nothing -- and worst, it was a huge waste of time in the first half of the film. Instead we get a drawn out torture scene that explores how vengeance and revenge affects a group of people. We get to see how people might act if they had the chance to face a killer.  Again, the film tries to explore a theme of vengeance, only to end up being an unpleasant mess. The endless circle of violence is the main theme of this trilogy, but only Oldboy was able to achieve a semblance of a movie out of this theme.  The second two films beat that theme to a bloody pulp without much return.  There was a emotional detachment in the second two films and that just leaves us as voyeurs of bad people doing bad things.  It's not pretty and, well, it wasn't worth the time. If you have a strong heart and stomache, then Oldboy is really worth a watch.  I highly recommend Oldboy.  The other two films are bloody disturbing films dressed up like art films.  I'd skip Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance.  Don't put yourself through the torture.

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