Oldboy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Oldboy Reviews

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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
April 15, 2013
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 | Original Score: 5/5
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 15, 2013
Shakespearean in its violence, Oldboy also calls up nightmare images of spiritual and physical isolation that are worthy of Samuel Beckett or Dostoyevsky.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 17, 2007
There's a lot less here than meets the eye.
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Trevor Johnston
Time Out
January 26, 2006
Quite an achievement then, and well worthy of its Cannes prize.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 26, 2005
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.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 10, 2005
It's mesmerizing and discomfiting, engaging the viewer on a visceral and an intellectual level.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Bob Townsend
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 2, 2005
A visually beguiling trip that keeps pulling you along and keeps you wondering what fresh hell could possibly come next.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
May 20, 2005
Its magnificence is that it takes itself dead serious. It's not entertainment, but it's sure a piece of toughness.
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Kerry Lengel
Arizona Republic
April 28, 2005
Combining the sinister suspense of Alfred Hitchcock with the unrepentant violence of Quentin Tarantino, South Korean director Park Chan-wook delivers a revenge tale as shocking as it is thought-provoking.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
April 22, 2005
The script reveals itself as an absurdly convoluted tale of betrayal and revenge.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
April 15, 2005
While one might argue that it loses credibility and impact as it reaches further along the ledge of outrageous, tummy churning plot developments, there's no denying the turbulence it creates.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
April 15, 2005
Deserves to be seen because of its relentless energy, the acting by Choi Min-sik that strikes a genuinely tragic note amid the mayhem and cartoonish excess, and the director's clear conviction that this wild story will resonate.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 15, 2005
For a while, though, this is as invigorating -- and as darkly funny -- as modern rogue moviemaking gets.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
April 8, 2005
A revenge film like none you have seen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
April 8, 2005
Exults in its own audaciousness, in its abandonment of convention and flaunting of unexpected intelligence.
| Original Score: A-
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
April 8, 2005
A movie that can leave you lost, repulsed, fascinated and ultimately chastened.
| Original Score: B
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
April 8, 2005
It is brutally epic.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
April 7, 2005
Tantalizes and tortures you as it lures you into its mysterious vortex.
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
April 7, 2005
Director Park Chanwook forces us to feel Oh Dae-su's pent-up rage and obsession with revenge, making us complicit when he acts out.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
March 26, 2005
You will either feel mollified by the hysterically moral denouement or feel offended by the filmmaker's strategy of debasement, which reduces the audience to the mongrel-like prostration of its protagonist.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
March 26, 2005
It's a grand, gritty, indelible experience.
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
March 25, 2005
An adrenalin rush that will keep you buzzing for days.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 25, 2005
Oldboy is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
March 24, 2005
It says something when you come out of a film as weird and fantastical as Oldboy and feel that you've experienced something truly authentic. I just don't know what. I can't think of anything to compare it to.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
March 24, 2005
Park Chanwook's frenzied thriller is entertaining to watch, which is a good thing, because there is not much to think about here, outside of the choreographed mayhem.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
March 24, 2005
Oldboy is a movie where you think you're in hell from the first frame -- but have no inkling of the infernal circles to come.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 24, 2005
An explosively exciting psychosexual revenge drama from Korean powerhouse Park Chanwook that makes movies feel alive again.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 24, 2005
Oldboy is consistently compelling.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
March 24, 2005
As pointless as it is shocking.
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Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
March 24, 2005
Even as imitations go, Oldboy doesn't measure up.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
March 24, 2005
It's a movie of such jaw-dropping violence, wild improbability and dazzling style it overpowers all resistance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
March 23, 2005
It's an onslaught made to cause a sensation. Consider me simultaneously jolted and depressed.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
March 22, 2005
Oldboy has the fatal air of wanting so desperately to be a cult movie that it forgets to present itself as a coherent one.
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
March 22, 2005
Oldboy may be a filmmaker's tour de force, but props should also be delivered to Choi, whose wretched, Herculean performance as the new millennium's Job could restore your faith in the selfless courage of acting.
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
February 11, 2005
Old Boy may be too extreme for its characters to truly engage you, but it is safe to say you will not be bored.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Derek Elley
Variety
June 1, 2004
Whether chomping down on a live octopus (in one of several scenes that require a strong stomach) or festering with half-crazed rage and impotence, Choi gives a bravura performance that powers the picture.
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Duane Byrge
Hollywood Reporter
June 1, 2004
Ultimately, we feel like the hero, hypnotized but desensitized and utterly turned off by its histrionic horrors.