Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

2005

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

TOMATOMETER

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

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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 Min-Sik), a teacher who wronged her in a number of ways. Lee Geun-ja teams up with a number of friends she made during her time in lock-up, including Woo So-yeong (Kim Bu-seon), a thief with a gunsmith for a husband; Oh Su-heui (Ra Mi-ran), who was saved from assault at the hands fellow inmates by Lee; and Preacher Jeon (Kim Byeong-ok), an eccentric man of the cloth who was struck by her gentle nature in jail. As Preacher Jeon helps Lee seek salvation for all she had to do while in prison, her other friends stand by her side as she gets even with her rivals and searches for the daughter she was forced to leave behind when she was convicted. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (aka Chinjeolhan Geum-ja-ssi) was the third film in a series, preceded by Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Old Boy. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

All Critics (85) | Top Critics (26)

... as brutal as it is beautiful.

Aug 6, 2006 | Rating: B+

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

Jun 30, 2006 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

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.

Jun 29, 2006 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Pound-of-flesh cinema, you might say.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top 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).

Jun 23, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Powered by a glowering performance by actress Lee Young Ae, it is a walloping tale.

Jun 23, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

½

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

½

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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.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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