Park Chan Wook is the Darren Aronofsky of Korea. No doubt about it. I had no idea what I was in for when I started watching the film. For goodness sakes this was the synopsis Netflix had for the film: With no clue how he came to be imprisoned, drugged and tortured for 15 years, a desperate businessman seeks revenge on his captors. But okay, Netflix did a good job. The last thing I’d want to read in a synopsis is a spoiler.
I wanted to watch Old Boy because I watched The Handmaiden (also by Park Chan Wook) and it is my favourite crime thriller ever. Whenever I fall in love with a particular director’s work, or an author’s work, I’d go all out to consume everything else they’ve ever made. Old Boy was so intense, I watched it with fists clenched the entire time. I loved how I had no idea where the scenes were headed towards, and there were some really bizarre moments that I’ll never be able to erase from my memory. The first three quarters of the film posed a lot of questions to the viewer, and it’s only near the end when everything we watched earlier made sense on hindsight. Yeah, it’s one of those films that suddenly turns exponentially amazing at the end.
Old Boy was so fascinatingly disturbing. It has Tarantino’s violence and the weirdness of Lynn Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. If you’re a fan of Darren Aronofsky, in the sense that you enjoy directors who set out to push the intensity limits in their films, then Old Boy might be the thing you’re looking for. I’ve never seen a film like Old Boy and I don’t think I ever will.