Sympathy for Lady Vengeance - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2006
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.
Super Reviewer
September 21, 2011
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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 4, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
January 8, 2009
The third and final offering in Chan Wook Park's trilogy of terror. Artfully dark and violent.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2009
"Listen carefully. Everyone make mistakes. But if you committed a sin, you have to make an atonement for that sin. Atonement, do you know what that means? Big Atonement for big sins. Small Atonement for small sins."

After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering the boy Park Won-mo, Geum-ja Lee is released and tries to fix her life. She finds a job in a bakery; she orders the manufacturing of a special weapon; she reunites with her daughter, who was adopted by an Australian family; and she plots revenge against the real killer of Won-mo, the English teacher Mr. Baek. With the support of former inmates from prison, Geum-ja seeks an unattained redemption with her vengeance.

Park Chan-Wook's Vengeance trilogy is amazing. Mr. Vengeance broke new ground, Oldboy added a deranged hidden element, and Lady Vengeance takes a moment away from the momentum and hard-edges of the latter two to add a very charismatic character with some intriguing development. The three shine like a beacon of light into a world of "Transporter" movies and their ilk, presenting a chance to actually submerge into a world of obsessive revenge and try to breathe through the thick layer of blood.

Lee Geum-ja gets out of prison and shocks everyone by throwing aside their chance at redemption as she finally takes matters into her own hands--but matters have kind of been in her hands for a while. She has a plan, and its execution goes rather flawlessly, but like a roller-coaster ride set on a track you can see before you get on, the anticipation itself adds to the fun. This film would pretty much be worth it just for the scene with the family members near the end. But what rounds it out and makes it more appealing is the slightly chaotic personality of Geum-ja, how she strives for redemption, and the surprising way she actually gets it.

I do kind of miss the roughness of the other two films in this one. The digital editing was pretty, and sometimes did some very amazing environmental/psychological things, but it felt so clean compared to the blood-splattered past of the other two. That's okay, though, as these films do stand alone and do have their own things to offer. Most important about them is the different approaches to vigilantism and what it means to the society it's enacted within. Once again, the scene with the family members makes this movie entirely worth it, but this time even more so as it does ask one of those important questions that society's struggle with today: do we give him over to the law and hope due process gives us our vengeance, or do we take it into our own hands?
Super Reviewer
½ August 19, 2011
Worth a watch just for the phenomenal ending. Personally, my favorite of the vengeance trilogy.
Keiko A. --Samurai--
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2011
Lady Vengeance is a great film and the final part of Parks trilogy is now complete. I do love Chan-Wook! :D

Great story and acting....This is my favourtie of his trilogy and i like the themes and our strong lead.

Some rather nasty images and a great soundtrack.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2006
Geum-ja Lee: Listen carefully. Everyone make mistakes. But if you committed a sin, you have to make an atonement for that sin. Atonement, do you know what that means? Big Atonement for big sins. Small Atonement for small sins.

This is the final film in director Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy, which was preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy. These films are not connected literally, only spiritually and thematically. It is a very well made movie, with another great multi-layered revenge story, which actually manages to bring this trilogy to a hopeful end.

Geum-ja Lee has just gotten out of a 13 year prison sentence, only to immediately seek out revenge on the person responsible for time spent in jail.

She had been imprisoned for the murder of a young boy. We learn early on that the boy was murdered by another, but Geum-ja Lee had to admit to the crime or else her own daughter would be killed.

We learn of the other inmates Geum-ja Lee had met and helped in various ways during her sentence, leading to the help they give her upon her release. This is all done in clever flashbacks sequences that further expand the characters and add both some clever dark humor and expanded character development.

Eventually we learn who is responsible and other crimes that this person has committed, leading to a final third act that revolves around the satisfaction of revenge for various people.

As mentioned, this is a very well made film, finding the beauty in death as it is. The cinematography is wonderful as is the score. Those mainly familiar with Oldboy and Mr. Vengeance will recognize the style as well as the various actors popping up throughout, including Min-sik Choi, miles away from his lead role as Oh Dae So in Oldboy.

Another Oldboy comparison: While both films share the revenge themes, this film is more about the relationship drama involved in the story, as opposed to having the cool but twisted vibe used in Oldboy. While both films are good in their own ways, it just seems necessary to point out.

The violence in this film is once again brutal at times, but nothing ugly or too unnecessary, it all serves the plot, with this film probably having the most implied violence of the trilogy. The acting is also strong, as well as the direction throughout.

The way the films in this trilogy have been made is truly wonderful, as they are all very watchable and continue to get better on repeat viewings.

Very well made revenge flick.

Mr. Baek: Ma'am, there is no such thing as a "perfect person"...
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2009
This is good, beautifully shot, with a great musical score . . . But Oldboy and even Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance have it heads above this one in terms of a compelling and fresh story. While Oldboy lives in the realm of classical tragedy, and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance inhabits the land of the existentially absurd, Lady Vengeance pulls its storyline from somewhere in the middle-of-the-road land where we may expect the expected and predict the predictable. Don't get me wrong, Sarah, the story is not mundane, but it definitely, for me, lacks the startling surprises of Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Rather than surprise us, Park seems to want to have us nodding our heads as the plot unfolds in a very familiar way. And for me, the best thing about Park, aside from a gift for music selection and an eye for composition, is his ability to surprise, unrelentingly. But you should really see this to know for yourself that you've seen the trilogy.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2009
Beautiful Geum-ja goes to prison for thirteen years for the kidnapping and murder of a six-year old boy, a crime she didn't commit, and on release commences an intricate and shocking plan of revenge on the true culprit. Arty, morally challenging revenge fantasy/meditation that's beautifully shot and acted but confusingly told; fans of the other entries in Park's "Vengeance" trilogy will eat it up.
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2009
Obvious alike, but more stylish and noir than Kill Bill.
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2008
Guess I'm the only one who didn't like this but I think it lacks most of the things that make the other two installment of the tilogy great, It's more like a straightforward revenge flick with a hero well of course better than typical straightforward revenge flicks but anyways, Also I didn't like the narrative & the characterization, Ok maybe my disappointment is due to the brilliance of the first two installments but how can some people call this the best of the trilogy is way beyond me
Super Reviewer
January 31, 2009
Just because it's Chan-wook Park movie, it isn't necessary that it too would be as good as OLDBOY. It's not even somewhere near to OLDBOY. Complete waste of time is all I can say about this movie. Many yet admire it as they can't help admiring a Chan-wook Park movie!!! I feel sympathy too!!!!!!
Super Reviewer
October 8, 2008
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" is a surprisingly poetic finale to Park's excellent Revenge Trilogy. The film fuses the relatively low-key style of "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" with the jet-black humor of "Oldboy," while adding welcome moments of poignancy and sentiment. The film is nowhere near as violent as its predecessors, although a good deal of mayhem takes place offscreen.

Yeong-ae Lee is outstanding as the troubled protagonist Geum-ja, the ex-convict who is seeking redemption as much as revenge. Although the supporting actors -- including several from Park's earlier films -- are uniformly fine, Lee's performance is the heart of the film.

"Lady Vengeance" is difficult to describe without revealing major plot points, as the most memorable scenes come at revelatory moments in the story. Suffice it to say that the climax blends tragedy and hilarity with a degree of success that few directors could hope to match.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2008
the modern day equivalent of M. The best film in the Chanwook Park Vengeance trilogy. It took him two movies to get there - one that is very subdued and avant-garde (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) followed by one that is a formulaic action movie, Oldboy - and here in Lady Vengeance a perfect balance is struck between the script and image making for an excellent, much overlooked, film."So Fucked Up" highlight: main character cuts her finger off as offering of forgiveness; schoolmaster rapes his wife casually at dinner table
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2008
an extremely stylish end to the revenge saga with a lovely soundtrack. truly disturbing and def cool if not as startling as oldboy. very black and white tho it's in beautiful technicolor.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2008
Director Chan-wook Park is able to deliver another good revenge film that is nicely done, but following a film like Oldboy, it may not seem as special as it probably is.The pace of this movie is really slow and that is what may discourage many viewers that are expecting a violent and suspenseful film, like Oldboy. Yes, this film tends to drag on, but this film is far from terrible. At a very high level the plot is nothing new, but as you get more into it, the details of the story show why Chan-wook's films are more than just simple tales of bloody revenge. Which it is. The character introductions in the first half is pretty good with the jumping back and forth through time, but it seems just a tad excessive since some of these characters have so small parts.The cinematography is superb and, at times, is a huge boost at keeping your mind off the aforementioned slow pace. The violence is a little weak and it will be disappointing if that is all you are looking for. Watching the entire first half to get to the drawn out ending is not worth it, in my opinion. It is creative, but it is lacking that extra something to move you to the edge of your seat.Like the cinematography, the acting is great. Yeong-ae Lee puts on a performance as good as she is sexy. Min-sik Choi is a good villain and realizing the greatness of Oldboy, Chan-wook squeezes in a cameo from Ji-tae Yu.This film lacks in a few places, but this is a good watch for those that respect good story telling and directing from Chan-wook Park.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2007
It's good, and it touches upon very similar material to Oldboy, just Oldboy tackles it better.
Super Reviewer
March 18, 2008
My favorite of the trilogy.
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