I was eating my breakfast this morning, and it just popped into my head: Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy. Just like that. It’s been a few years since I saw that movie, but it’s kinda hard to forget it. I have it on good authority that the brains of some people have been irreversibly altered by watching it. Everyone remembers sitting on the edge of the couch, the bed, or wherever you consume your film, with one’s mouth open. JUST OPEN! And you are thinking, wha? NO! For REAL! WHAT?!
But it’s not just the ending, it’s the way Park leads you down the false primrose path.This is one of the greatest instances of storytelling I’ve seen in a minute. And making that storytelling even more effective is Park’s use of the camera. I mean, at some point you know something’s WRONG, but you don’t know how WRONG it is until the end. And even then, your brain doesn’t want to accept it. And you can’t figure out who is MORE wrong: the guy who has been inexplicably locked in a room for 15 years, or the guy who does it.
Also, this movie messes with your moral sense. Sure, you can readily identify the complete failure of ethics, the lack of people doing the right thing.But admit it, you’re also thinking to yourself: I’m a little bit impressed. OK, you gotta be a LOT impressed. This is the epitome of PERSISTENCE! Just sayin’.
And finally, it’s the film that gives much deserved respect to the hammer!