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Oldboy (2005)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 133
Fresh: 107
Rotten: 26

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

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 29
Rotten: 8

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


Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 128,880


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 … More

R (for strong violence including scenes of torture, sexuality and pervasive language)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Chan Wook Park
In Theaters:
Aug 23, 2005
Box Office:
Tartan Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Oldboy

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (26) | DVD (27)

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

It's mesmerizing and discomfiting, engaging the viewer on a visceral and an intellectual level.

Full Review… | June 10, 2005
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 1, 2013

Vengeance here's a clever, evolving beast. Dae-su's guardian-like enemy stokes his bloodlust, embittering the free man's returning love of life. The climax is a scarlet swelling into Greek tragedy as truth, reprisal and justice smear.

Full Review… | May 6, 2013
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Banzai-violence kin to "Cast Away" about a man at time's cruel whim, "Oldboy"is an endurance test worth taking. Its conclusion is the most sadistic and destructively wrathful since "Seven," and the point of no return has rarely shocked this much.

Full Review… | September 17, 2010

Intense and dark but also humorous and moving, this is an ambitious film that fulfils its promise, despite an arguably overly protracted denouement. Excellent.

Full Review… | July 16, 2010

One of the best imports I've seen in a while...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Vengeance, says director Chan-wook Park, is the most dramatic subject in the world. The problem with that view driving his filmmaking is that it seems to override his creative judgement, presenting us with cruelty as the vehicle for his cinematic jollies.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Director Chan-wook Park keeps the suspense going for as long as possible.

Full Review… | December 27, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

Part character study, part action flick, the film seamlessly blends genres in an extremely satisfying way. The photography is spectacular - of particular note is a Escher-like staircase sequence that is simply extraordinary.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

As played by Choi Min-shik, Dae-su attains tragic stature. He's like a shaggy King Lear undone by his own foolishness.

April 19, 2007

Definitivamente no para todos los gustos, esta violenta y asombrosa película coreana promete convertirse en una de las verdaderas sorpresas del año.

Full Review… | May 23, 2006
Uruguay Total

Park has a strong visual style and a near-surrealistic noir touch, but unraveling the mystery scarcely repays sitting through his relentless rounds of gut-wrenching violence.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Sacramento News & Review

Not to everyone's tastes, but if you have a strong stomach, OldBoy is sure to impress.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

Oldboy is a delirious, confronting ride, a movie full of visceral shocks and aesthetic pleasures: it has an explosive immediacy and a persistent afterlife, a lingering impact that is hard to shake.

Full Review… | January 17, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald

Be amazed at my cruel virility. Feel the pain. Oh yeah.

Full Review… | November 22, 2005
Film Experience

Its tentacles are still wriggling in my memory, as if I just ate something that should never have been served in the first place.

Full Review… | October 31, 2005
Looking Closer

That Park has talent in the technical department is a given; that he's a good filmmaker is debatable.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Oldboy

The second but unconnected film in Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy is an explosive one to put it lightly. There are so many layers to pull back in this one that you'd be excused for feeling more than a little dizzy before the end. It's a pure mix of the darkest Manga, Park Chan-wook twisted mind and Asian Extreme cinema. The story hooks you in from the outset, shocks you with it's ultra-violence and then deeply disturbs you with it's shocking realisations. Somehow, after all that, there is a beautiful and tender message, albeit soaked in blood. Not for the fainthearted but unmissable for those who want to see something unique and rather special. The direction is unmatched in its violent beauty.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

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

In front of me is some kind of box. He`s telling me to open it.
– Submitted by steve l (19 months ago)
Oh Dae-Su:
If they had told me it was going to be fifteen years, would it have been easier to endure.
– Submitted by Jacob M (20 months ago)
Oh Dae-Su:
Be it a stone or a grain of sand, in water they both sink.
– Submitted by David H (2 years ago)
I love dae-su.
– Submitted by ?? ? (2 years ago)
Oh Dae-Su:
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.
– Submitted by Fenky G (2 years ago)
Lee Woo-Jin:
Your gravest mistake wasn't failing to find the answer. If you keep asking the wrong questions, you'll never find the right answer.
– Submitted by Abhilash A (2 years ago)

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