Sympathy for Lady Vengeance Reviews
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.
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?
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.
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"...
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.