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DVD review: Oldboy: A great, engrossing mystery that never disappoints



“Revenge is a dish best served cold” meaning Vengeance is more satisfying when exacted in cold blood. It’s the English translation of the line “La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid.” The earliest usage of this phase can be traced back to Piere Choderlos De Laclos novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons 1782). It is an old proverb that aptly fits so many stories of revenge. Some of the most recent uses of it can be found in classic films such as Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Kill Bill. This great quote aptly fits the story of Oldboy.
OldBoy is a mind-boggling, spellbinding happenstance that captures the true meaning of that saying at it unfolds in one of the best stories of revenge to ever hit the screen. It’s an uncanny, underrated aberration that will have you on the edge of your seat and will have you guessing right up until the final moments. Oldboy is a remake of a 2003 Korean movie. The movie stars Josh Brolin (True Grit), Sharto Copley (Elysium), Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House), Michael Imperioli (The Lovely Bones) and Samuel L. Jackson (Robocop 2014). It’s directed by Spike Lee (Inside Man).
OldBoy isn’t a film for your kids or the faint of heart. The film is brutal, graphic, and laced with obscenities to teach a 3 year old how to use foul language. This isn’t your usual Spike Lee film and that’s one of the reasons that make this film that much more special. Director Spike Lee goes through painstaking efforts to establish the intensity and set the tone of the film. In spite of that, this is a great mystery and it’s never what you will expect. The film is amazing at maintaining a high level of suspense. Oldboy unfolds like a great puzzle that you are eager to finish, only giving you just enough to further submerse you, and then make you not want to look away for a minute. Lee also does a fantastic job at incorporating some really good action sequences into the film as a change of pace. The scenes are utterly brutal but they maintain the tone of the film and continue to ratchet of the intensity of the film.
Josh Brolin delivers one of his best performances in Oldboy. He portrays the role with a ferocious intensity that is Oscar worthy. Brolin’s depiction of Joseph Doucett is nothing short of masterful. It’s intense, unwavering, and very sympathetic. Brolin’s plays both phases of Doucett’s life to perfection. From the jerk to the driven father who’s trying to regain the love of his child, Brolin makes you believe that he is both characters. Samuel L. Jackson and Sharto Copley co- star. Copley adds another impressive role to his short list of great characters.
At the time of this review, I have not seen the 2003 film that this movie is based upon. Consequently, this version of Oldboy is one of the best films of 2013 that I have seen. I am not sure why it didn’t receive more acclaim. The film is engrossing and utterly intense. Oldboy literally has one of the greatest mind jobs that you will ever see in a film. Mind blowing is an understatement. This is one of Spike Lee’s top 5 films. He may have some that are clearly better but this movie truly shows how versatile of a director has become. Oldboy is a must see and should be the next movie you see.