Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Park Chan-Wook's third instalment of his 'Revenge Trilogy' is a masterpiece. It easily rivals, and possibly surpasses its predecessors. The critically, and internationally acclaimed 'Oldboy' and the first instalment, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Lady Vengeance however offers more style and subtlety. The majority of its violence is off screen, but works well in letting the viewer use their imagination to create their own interpretation of how the events play off-screen. The film may be less violent than Oldboy or Mr.Vengeance, but because of one notable scene, it could easily be the most brutal of the three, that all depends on your imagination. If you have seen Lady Vengeance before, you know what I mean. If not, I will not elaborate further to avoid spoilers.

Lady Vengeance offers a lot to its viewer, its style is incredibly pleasing the eye. Not only is it beautifully shot, but there are so many wonderful sequences that play out with a documented feel. Every time we are introduced to one of the inmates befriended by our heroin Geum-ja during her 13 year stay at a Women’s correctional facility, her name and the duration of her sentence is displayed on screen, followed by a narrated recap as to why she was imprisoned, and what happened during her stay. All of the inmates play a key role in our Heroines master plan to get her revenge on the man who forced her to confess to his kidnapping and killing of a young boy. He does so by kidnapping her own daughter with a threat to kill her if she does not comply. So she does with no hesitation, this being only the first of many steps towards her coming redemption.

I can't stress enough how beautiful Lady Vengeance really is, each shot could be framed hung in a gallery. The music is another strong part of the overall experience of this film, it works as a hook to reach out and pull you into the scene, and it’s simply beautiful. Lady Vengeance is something that has to be seen to truly appreciate, more so then I can sum up in a simple review. It’s an experience. Every second is slowly leading up to a truly masterful climax. One that will leave anyone who watches with a great deal of bittersweet satisfaction.


A Film by Park Chan-wook

1 comment:

  1. Nice review, Jeff. Nice to see that there are others who consider SFLV as potentially better than its predecessors of the trilogy. Not a total commitment, but still.

    Build up of the film was well staged (totally demonstrating not only Chan-wook's talent as a director, but as a writer as well) and everything about it was beautifully imaged. There's a fine line between beauty and dark themes that are handled extremely well by the Koreans. And this film nails it.

    I was extremely fortunate to catch my second viewing of this film at the Brattle in Cambridge, Ma. Not the best theater by any stretch but the experience still blew me away! Great film.