Sympathy for Mr Vengeance

Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin) is a down-on-his-luck factory worker who lives with his blind girlfriend and supports his sister through a serious kidney disease. After he tries everything to get her the money for her transplant, he resorts to kidnapping the child of the wealthy Dong-jin Park (Kang-ho Song) and holding her ransom.

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In this, the first film in Park Chan Wook’s vengeance trilogy, Park demonstrates the excellent photography of Oldboy, without having yet developed the same degree of refinement in story telling. While perfectly compelling, the film lacks some narrative momentum at points.

The moral ambiguity of the characters greatly exceeds that of your standard revenge flick, and the combination of dark comedy and sudden plot twists make it an enjoyable watch, as Park’s trademark mix of sex, violence and chainsmoking blasts onto screen. Totally unique, its flaws can be overlooked thanks to just how twisted it is, and that it lays the groundwork for Park’s later greatness in Oldboy.

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