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LADY VENGEANCE (R) (2005)

Tartan

Official Site

Director: Chan-wook Park

Producers: Young-wuk Cho, Chun-yeong Lee, Tae-hun Lee

Written by: Chan-wook Park, Seo-Gyeong Jeong

Cast: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Yea-young Kwon, Il-woo Nam, Byeong-ok Kim

Rating:


Revenge is a dish best served cold… with tofu.

Or at least such is the case in the movie, Lady Vengeance, the third and final flick in the revenge trilogy of Chan-wook Park, the Korean director behind Oldboy and Mr. Vengeance, continues his meditation and commentary on the ultimately futile and tragedy of that human response of revenge.

Geum-Ja (Lee) is a young lady convicted and jailed for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy. In her 13 years of incarceration, Geum-Ja befriends inmates who will serve her purposes, and crafts an elaborate plan against the real kidnapper, Mr. Baek (Choi), for when she is released. And if you know anything about Park’s filmography, or if you know anything about Oldboy, you know there will be grisly violence, torture, death, murder, depictions of cruelty against living animal creatures, and lots of juicy blood. I’m talking enough blood to fill the Grand Canyon. So much blood that even Dracula wouldn’t be able to finish it. Get it? This movie has lots of bloodshed.

Geum-ja was a young student at the time of the crime, and was coerced into taking the rap for it in order to protect her infant daughter. Now she’s out of jail and calling on her disciples and ready to unleash her rage on Baek.

This is a disturbing, unsettling story that’s hard to watch at times. Some of the events it depicts are truly horrible and despicable (actions performed by Baek in particular). And there really are people in the world who have committed such acts, and it’s hard to put into words why. We try to justify it or enforce a rational explanation to it, but sometimes there really isn’t one. The scariest part is when faced with those he terribly wronged, Mr. Baek’s words seemed to be the most relevant when he basically just says that there are no perfect people. Even the seemingly innocent victims’ relatives have their own skeletons that reveal themselves in the end, which is also equally tragic.

Park does a lot of little odd, subtle things with the frame and the images therein. You’ll see little surreal touches or changes, certain shifts of someone’s face in a photo that I didn’t even notice the first time around. The camera work and production design are certainly top notch and ultra-visceral.

Despite how bleak this movie looks and feels, what’s important is that deep down there is a message of hope, the hope we all have or should have for the world and how we want to and try live. Or something like that. Definitely not one of those, “I’m a poet and didn’t even know it” moments I was looking for.

“Take this flower… for you have vengeance to take comrade.”

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



none now
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