Oldboy (2005) - Rotten Tomatoes

Oldboy (2005)



Critic Consensus: Violent and definitely not for the squeamish, Park Chan-Wook's visceral Oldboy is a strange, powerful tale of revenge.

Movie Info

South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook directed this violent and offbeat story of punishment and vengeance. Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is a husband and father whose reputation for womanizing is well known. One day, for reasons he doesn't understand, Oh Dae-su finds himself locked up in a prison cell, with no idea of what his crime was or whom his jailers may be. With a small television as his only link to the outside world and a daily ration of fried dumplings as his only sustenance, Oh Dae-su struggles to keep his mind and body intact, but when he learns through a news report that his wife has been killed, he begins a long and difficult project of digging an escape tunnel with a pair of chopsticks. Before he can finish -- and after 15 years behind bars -- Oh Dae-su is released, with as little explanation as when he was locked up, and he's soon given a wad of money and a cellular phone by a bum on the street. Emotionally stunted but physically strong after 15 years in jail, Oh Dae-su struggles to unravel the secret of who is responsible for locking him up, what happened to his wife and daughter, and how to best get revenge against his captors. Oldeuboi was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and won the coveted Grand Prix.more
Rating: R (for strong violence including scenes of torture, sexuality and pervasive language)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Park Chan-wook, Lim Joon-hyung, Hwang Jo-yun, Lim Jun-hyeong
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 23, 2005
Box Office: $0.6M
Tartan Films - Official Site


Min-sik Choi
as Oh Daesu
Yoo Ji-tae
as Lee Woo-jin
Chi Dae-han
as No Joo-hwan
Dal-su Oh
as Park Cheol-woong
Lee Seung-shin
as Yoo Hyung-ja
Yoon Jin-seo
as Lee Soo-ah
Oh Gwang-rok
as Suicidal Man
Oh Tae-gyung
as Young Dae-su
Ahn Yeon-suk
as Young Woo-jin
Oo Il-han
as Young Joo-hwan
Yi Yong
as Delivery Boy
Ji-tae Yu
as Lee Woo-Jin
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Oldboy

Critic Reviews for Oldboy

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (37)

Both brutal and lyrical, writer-director Park Chan-wook's existential nail-biter has torture scenes that will have you avoiding dentists, sushi bars and badly appointed hotel rooms.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Shakespearean in its violence, Oldboy also calls up nightmare images of spiritual and physical isolation that are worthy of Samuel Beckett or Dostoyevsky.

Full Review… | April 15, 2013
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

There's a lot less here than meets the eye.

Full Review… | April 17, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Quite an achievement then, and well worthy of its Cannes prize.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's hard to make an argument for Oldboy based on anything other than pure cinematics, but when the style speaks this loudly, it's an argument worth making.

Full Review… | September 26, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

..seems to be about the awfulness and inhumanity of vengeance. But watch how the film moves.

Full Review… | September 1, 2013

Audience Reviews for Oldboy

Daesu Oh is a drunk and a philanderer but otherwise a fairly typical husband and father, until one day he is kidnapped and imprisoned in a cell for 15 years with only a TV set for company and no word of explanation. One day he wakes up on the outside with only a wallet and a phone, and he sets out on a single-minded quest to find out why he was imprisoned and extract bloody vengeance on those responsible. The second part of the Vengeance Trilogy by Chan-wook Park, Oldboy is a bizarre and brilliant film. It constantly wrong foots you and messes with your perceptions, and contains the kind of revelation that makes the kind of so-called plot "twists" of most films look gimmicky and inane. This is the kind of film that blows you away and makes you realise you've been watching the WHOLE THING from the wrong standpoint. As for Min-sik Choi's performance, astonishing is the only word for it...the way such intense emotions and motivations are constantly shifting without ever feeling contrived or forced is just spellbinding. It combines art and extreme violence in a way that reminded me of A Clockwork Orange, but better! It's also stylistically on the same level as Fight Club and is absolutely riveting from beginning to end. A virtually flawless modern masterpiece.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


A disturbing, dark, but undeniably creatively constructed melodrama concerning a man (Choi Min-sik) who on the evening of his daughter's birthday, is captured and locked away for 15 years and not told why, before being suddenly, inexplicably released into the world, where he seeks vengeance against his captor. This is a hard movie to recommend because the subject material is so disgusting and unlikable, but from a pure artistic perspective and how everything is put together, this is a phenomenal film. It is really a modern-day Shakespearean tale acted to perfection, with twists in the story that are definitely sick and shocking. Proceed with caution, but in the end this is a really, really well done movie that is worthy of the cult following it has garnered over the years. The ending will leave you picking up what is left of your brain off the floor.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Oldboy Quotes

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– Submitted by Jacob M (2 years ago)
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