“I like dark movies. I like shocking twists. I like getting insight into an evil mind. I like the unexpected. So because I tend to seek out a lot of those films, I have become a bit desensitized. Something has to be truly twisted and different and unexpected to really affect me. When I say that I was shaking on my way out of Oldboy, know that I don’t say that lightly. The only other film I can think of that I’ve had such a visceral response to was the first Saw.
And it wasn’t just about how it all ended. We’ll get to that spoiler-less discussion in a bit. But from the beginning I just felt absolutely uncomfortable in the best possible way. I haven’t seen the original Korean film (although now I’m kinda dying to), so I only knew the two sentance summary: Man is mysteriously imprisoned for unknown reasons, and is released twenty years later with no explanation. Vengeance ensues. When we first get a glimpse into our man Joe’s life (played by Josh Brolin), he’s a total d-bag. I did not enjoy watching him in the same way that I prolly would not stand to be in the same room with him. His bad behavior was just very overt and extreme.
Then he wakes up in that hotel room looking prison. After I few minutes in there, I was genuinely creeped out. I think the poster with the concierge that looked sorta like Samuel L but not really (though he actually did show up later) was what got me. Or the bad jazzercise clips Joe would watch. Once he got out and the mystery began to unfold, the one word that kept resonating in my head was twisted. There’s no other way I can describe what kept on happening. And the end (which I only figured out moments before Joe did) was insane. Fun trivia for you, Elizabeth Olsen wasn’t even told what the end was. She had to see it at the premier and was just as shocked as anyone.
This film is far enough out of director Spike Lee’s wheelhouse, you’d think it was a darker turn from Tarantino (had his blood style but not his mood) or Fincher. But I thought he set such an intense tone, and I would love to see him do more like this. I also liked how there was just enough of an Asian element to throwback to the original (again, which I haven’t seen). Usually when you have a foreign remake you either completely ignore the home country or force ways to submerge your new movie in it.
Oh also, Sharlto Copley. We’ve seen him be a goofball (A-team) or a doofus (District 9) and just started to see some bad in him (Elysium). His Stranger was a dark mix of all those sides we’ve seen, giving us one of the most insane and clever bad guys I’ve seen in a while. Can he do this more, please?
Oldboy – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/