Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
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as Park Dong-jin
as Ryu's Sister
as Cha Yeong-mi
as Ryu's Sister
as Chief of Staff
as Husband of Dong-jin's Ex-wife
as Park Dong-jin's Ex-wife
Critic Reviews for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
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.
It is a worthy start to a trilogy and to a director who is fast establishing himself as a new light in Asian cinema.
Promises to be a stylish, resonant plunge into the dark waters of despair and revenge but ends up amusing itself with ostentatious shocks.
It's all a little ultra-cool for me. Shakespeare was right. Revenge is a dish best served ice-cold, not cool.
So bloody, scatologically violent and consistently shocking, it seems to have no larger purpose than itself -- which is pretty grim.
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.
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.
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.
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