Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)



Critic Consensus: Though Park directs with stylistic flair, this revenge thriller is more excessively gruesome than thrilling.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance Photos

Movie Info

A deaf-mute man, Ryu, works in a smelting factory and inhabits his own silent world, oblivious to the din both at work and in his downscale apartment building. He idolizes his sister, who urgently needs a kidney transplant, and when he's laid off and then tricked out of his savings by organ traffickers, his wacko girlfriend, Yeong-mi, suggests kidnapping his former boss's daughter to pay for his sister's operation. Yeong-mi sees it as social revenge. Ryu, initially scared of the consequences, finally agrees after seeing another laid-off worker attempt hara-kiri outside the boss's home. After kidnapping the boss's daughter, their whole plan starts to quickly unravel with horrible consequences.
R (for strong gruesome violence, strong sexuality, language and drug use)
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

Watch it now


Song Kang-ho
as Park Dong-jin
Lim Ji-Eun
as Ryu's Sister
Bae Doo-na
as Cha Yeong-mi
Im Ji-eun
as Ryu's Sister
Han Bo-bae
as Yu-sun
Se-dong Kim
as Chief of Staff
Jae-yeong Jeong
as Husband of Dong-jin's Ex-wife
Kan-hie Lee
as Park Dong-jin's Ex-wife
Kwang-rok Oh
as Anarchist
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (14)

Park prizes craftsmanship over bargain-bin schlock. It's an odd testament to his spiritedness that, despite the coldblooded killing and trail of the dead, Mr. Vengeance feels warmly suffused with life.

Full Review… | October 28, 2005
Boston Globe
Top Critic

It is a worthy start to a trilogy and to a director who is fast establishing himself as a new light in Asian cinema.

Full Review… | September 23, 2005
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Promises to be a stylish, resonant plunge into the dark waters of despair and revenge but ends up amusing itself with ostentatious shocks.

September 9, 2005
Seattle Times
Top Critic

It's all a little ultra-cool for me. Shakespeare was right. Revenge is a dish best served ice-cold, not cool.

September 8, 2005
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

So bloody, scatologically violent and consistently shocking, it seems to have no larger purpose than itself -- which is pretty grim.

Full Review… | August 26, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Somehow you'd be more won over by his anti-revenge case if he didn't seem to be having such a good time making it.

August 25, 2005
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

The first film of Park Chan-Wook's Vengeance Trilogy is this intense, tragic and highly stylish thriller/bloodbath that plunges its miserable characters into a bleak and inescapable circle of misfortunes and revenge.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


A deaf-mute tries to sell a kidney on the black market to pay for a life saving operation for his sister, but when he wakes up left for dead minus both the money and his kidney he hatches a scheme to kidnap his ex-boss' daughter for the ransom. When she is accidentally killed it sets in motion a sequence of events that result in bloody vengeance for both men. The first chapter in Chan-wook Park's vengeance trilogy reminded me very much of a Tikeshi Kitano film; beautifully shot but very understated with moments of surreal humour, brief outbursts of grim violence and a typically nihilistic ending. He attempts to show the motivations and context of the actions of all involved and so the brutal acts of vengeance perpetrated by the characters who have become increasingly black-hearted through grief and loss garner little sympathy from the viewer. I also found the plot a little too far-fetched to swallow and so I felt it was easily the weakest of the three, but that is hardly the most damning of criticisms as the others are amongst the best films I've ever seen. A technically excellent film that won't be for those with a weak stomach, but a memorably visceral experience for those able to stay the course.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance on our Movie forum!

News & Features