Have you ever… seen Oldboy?

Have you ever? is a short look back at anything you might have missed from all over the pop culture world.


Before I start: I haven’t seen the American remake but going purely off of just how much I love the original and looking at the reviews of the remake I can quite confidently suggest you don’t waste your time and find some way of watching the 2003 Korean version.

Oldboy 1

This film is fantastic. It also makes up one the quadrathlon of Korean films (along with Train to Busan) that I feel everyone should see. I will get to the other two soon.

The story is confusing as all hell the first time you watch (especially if you’re like me and you look away from the screen at your phone and suddenly realise you don’t understand Korean). Oh Dae-su begins the film drunk and a huge nuisance. After being bailed by his friend he is kidnapped and imprisoned in a tiny room – by who and for why we do not know. By watching the television in his room, Dae-Su learns that his wife has been murdered and that, as a result of his disappearance, he is the prime suspect. Food is delivered through a trap door and his room pumped full of sleeping gas to allow it to be cleaned. Dae-Su spends his time shadow boxing and planning revenge on his captor. 15 years pass. Dae-Su suddenly wakes up on a rooftop.

Here is where the story starts to take some turns. After testing out his fighting skills on a gang in the street, he is handed a mobile phone by a beggar in the street. The phone rings and the voice on the other side, claiming to be his captor, tells to him to try and find out why he was imprisoned.

Oldboy 2

Once again, I have chosen a film with such an interesting plot that I can’t really talk about any part of because I don’t want to spoil anything.

At its core, Oldboy is a revenge film. But like an onion, there’s so many more layers than that. Dae-Su’s mission becomes less about a lust for vengeance for himself once he falls in love with a young female sushi chef and has to protect her against the world he has dragged her into.

I wish I could write more about it, but the whole format of these posts are trying to say as much as possible without spoiling anything and I think I’m near the limit already.

It is also part of a trilogy of non-narratively connected films called the Vengeance Trilogy – the first of which, whilst not being the best film ever, does have one of my favourite ever film titles: Sympathy for Mr Vengeance.



If you’ve already seen Oldboy, see if you can find a way to watch the rest of the Vengeance Trilogy – beyond borrowing the DVD off of me:

Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Lady Vengeance


Oh and don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the film! Give us a tweet, we look forward to hearing from you!