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Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

tomatometer

74

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 85
Fresh: 63 | Rotten: 22

Stylistically flashy and gruesomely violent, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance fits in nicely with the other two films of Park's revenge trilogy.

76

Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 6

Stylistically flashy and gruesomely violent, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance fits in nicely with the other two films of Park's revenge trilogy.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 60,100

My Rating

Movie Info

A woman looks for both revenge and redemption after spending 13 years in prison in this offbeat thriller from South Korea. Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) was in her early twenties when she was found guilty of kidnapping and killing a young boy, and though she confessed to the crime under duress, while behind bars she dreamed of one day being able to clear her name -- and even the score with the people who railroaded her, including the police officer who brought her in (Nam Il-woo) and Mr. Baek (Choi

Sep 5, 2006

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All Critics (89) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (22) | DVD (18)

... as brutal as it is beautiful.

August 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Squanders plot impetus, and even with constant crosscutting it's lethargically paced, slogging through soap-operatic back stories and maddening irrelevancies.

June 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The films strain to present some kind of moral compass, a philosophy of revenge's human toll. But in the end, their sadistic glee in creative bloodshed trumps all.

June 29, 2006 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Because I am a connoisseur of art cinema, my feelings about Lady Vengeance are complex. Some parts I liked; some parts I didn't.

June 29, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pound-of-flesh cinema, you might say.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Apart from Park's impressive but ultimately hollow style (his images are impeccably composed and visually inventive), Lady Vengeance is still an exercise in wretched excess (though less extreme than its predecessors).

June 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a man is made to mediate the terms of his own murder, Park Chan-wook offers a perfect resolution to his "Vengeance" trilogy: an acutely agonizing elegy for whatever shred of humanity is left after the impulse for vengeance has worked itself out.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

Talks Sin and Salvation while spending all his creative energies on debasing gags and sneering wide-angle shots

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Park Chanwook works his Grand Guignol sense of humor against Korean social conditions to effect a call-and-response logic to the metaphoric and literal things that happen onscreen.

April 15, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Comments (2)
ColeSmithey.com

The kind of glorious sensory rush that you can only get when a supremely confident director fully kicks out the jams. Submerged within the flash, however, is a nihilistic worldview that may be even more curdled than its predecessors.

October 21, 2007 Full Review Source: The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

in Lady Vengeance, revenge is ultimately a shabby, sordid business that leaves everybody soiled and in need of purification - or at least of a pie in the face.

July 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The story is delightfully multilayered, the look stylish, and the horror component top notch.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

If you have a taste for revenge or just a taste for wickedly well-done filmmaking, help yourself to a serving of Lady Vengeance.

April 19, 2007
KPBS.org

What most will take from Lady Vengeance is a director in love with film and the ability to express that passion through the language of his medium.

March 24, 2007 Full Review Source: UGO

Exciting, nerve-wracking and utterly original.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

No capítulo final de sua trilogia sobre a Vingança, Park (com seu dom habitual para criar belíssimos quadros) concebe um conto de moralidade surpreendente, complexo e assustador, levando o espectador a confrontar sua própria percepção sobre o assunto.

December 31, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Park Chanwook's latest revenge thriller isn't as graphic as earlier ones, but may be even more psychologically violent -- and that's a compliment, as it leads to astounding revelations about guilt and justice.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Daily News
Los Angeles Daily News

Didn't have enough heart for me to find its soft spot.

December 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comment (1)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The theme of how all-around bad revenge is starts to wear a little thin... But there's always a perverse delight in just watching how a Park movie is executed.

December 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

A collideorscape it is, and a very fine one.

November 11, 2006 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

It has an operatic scale and an emotional eloquence and, along the way, in the juxtaposition of its variously conflicting elements, we see how vengeance turns to redemption.

September 14, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

may be the most emotionally affecting, perversely amusing and deeply disturbing of the trilogy.

August 17, 2006 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Park cleverly shows us that justice and revenge can be equally horrifying

August 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is out to ruin you.

July 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

The final part of Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy sees an angelic looking young woman imprisoned for the kidnap and murder of a young child. Upon her release from prison 13 years later, her plan for vengeance on the real killer is set in motion. The core of the film is the duality of Yeong-ae Lee's role; her angelic appearance belying her ruthless and single-minded pursuit of her goal, and her quest for vengeance tempered by her feelings guilt about her part in the boy's death. It's not as bleak as Oldboy and does not have it's complex relationships and twists and turns in plot. The characters find some form of redemption by it's end, although the psychology of revenge is examined; do two wrongs make a right? Min-sik Choi's child killer is completely without redeeming qualities, but it is still uncomfortable seeing his suffering at the hands of the people he has wronged even though they are acting on the part of justice rather than cruelty. Visually, it's stunning. Chan-wook Park's eye for composition is wonderful, and combined with a beautiful use of colour, location, costume and set design it truly is breath taking to look at. The title sequence and even end credits are gorgeously designed; add to this a lovely baroque soundtrack and the product is something akin to an cinematic work of art.
December 31, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

[img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
November 5, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

A young woman sets out for revenge and redemption after serving 13 years in prison for a grim crime. Why she sets out revenge is something I don't want to give away, but let's just say that it's rather heartbreaking.

This is part three of Park Chan-wook's "Vengeance Trilogy", and, like the other two, it provides a unique take on the concept of vengeance, and the consequences and repercussions of it. It's not quite as good as Oldboy, but it's more polished and solid than Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance.

Similar to how "Mr. Vengeance" had shades of Fargo, this one has shades of stuff like Natural Born Killers or even Serial Mom with the quasi documentary way parts of the story are told, namely with the interview segments and flashbacks that pepper in the development for the lead character. It also love the (very dark) sense of humor and irony, both in these scenes, and throughout the film as a whole.

Don't get me wrong, this is a very serious, grim, and unsettling film, but there is a clear sense of gallows humor that follows the proceedings, even in some of the more brutal moments.

The characters are well rounded, and the acting is tremendous. Lee Yeong-ae is front and center here, and this is one amazing performance. Like the other two films in the trilogy, there's some really tough subject matter, but the actors manage to get through it remarkably.

The art direction, visuals, editing, and music are top notch, and this one is really gorgeous. What I love as well is that (and this includes all three films of the trilogy) is how, no matter how graphic and disturbing the content is, there is always a point to it, and when they end, you are left with a lot to think about.

Give this one a look. It's hard to watch at times, but it's worth it.
July 25, 2013
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Building up where OldBoy left off, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a fine conclusion to Chan Wook Park Vengeance trilogy. This is a well crafted third part that is just as disturbing as the first two pictures in the trilogy, yet creates something different in the process as well. Oldboy was the turning point in Park's trilogy and elevated the standards of the revenge film with his second outing in the trilogy. However for this third part, he delivers something truly remarkable and intense and like Oldboy before it, redefined the genre. The first film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was quite good and set the tone for the following films afterwards. Park in turn became more confident with the formula and made films that brought violence into a respectable art form. Meaning the violence was used to elevate the plot and not used just for the sake of shock value. This third entry is a well acted film with a great story and fine directing that became Park's signature with his previous Vengeance outings. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a different film, and works very well and will definitely entertain cinema buffs that enjoy a powerful and thoroughly engaging revenge film without the same old Hollywood clichés. The film tends to deliver some truly shocking and disturbing bits as it plunges you in the action and gives you an ugly taste of revenge from the main character. The brilliant tone of the movie is what sets this apart from other films in the genre, and there is an added human emotion to the feel of the picture that gives it such a unique appeal and unforgettable quality. This is a near flawless film that will definitely entertain you from start to finish. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a fine conclusion to Park's Vengeance trilogy and it will definitely appeal to viewers looking for a great revenge flick.
March 6, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Lady Vengeance (DE)
  • Lady Vengeance (UK)
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