When I watched Old Boy for the first time (I have now seen it three times), I was slightly shocked by the content. This shock slowly turned into more of a stomach-churning intensity, as I took stock of what was actually happening to the story. Old Boy is definitely a grossed-out, acid tripping, stomach lurching, and strangely enough, memorable movie to stick your eyes on.
Directed by Chan-Wook Park, Old Boy is not for the feint hearted. The story follows Oh Dae-Su (Choi-min Sik), as he struggles with the life he has most unfortunately been handed. We see Dae-su as he is first kidnapped, and then placed in a small hotel-like room for a period of fifteen years.
During this time he is drugged almost nightly, whereby a drab song begins to play, just before he is gassed out cold. He surely becomes familiar with this song. Over this time he constantly tries in vein to kill him self, but to no avail. Whenever he tries to knock himself off, the gas comes spiralling out of the vents, and his captors rescue him.
After his fifteen years is up, Old Boy wakes up on top of a building where a man is ready to jump off. The conversation the two men have here is somewhat amusing, as we see the transition of Dae-su, from how we first saw him at the beginning of the movie, to what captivity has bled into him. From here on the story begins to spiral out of control.
Old Boy meets a girl Mi-do (Kang-hye Jeong), who takes care of him, and they form a close connection, becoming lovers. She helps Old Boy try to figure out the twisted reasons why he has been locked up for so long, with no apparent reason. At least, none he could remember without some refreshing.
He uses his notebooks, which he has written in for the past fifteen years, to try and figure out who, and what has done this to him. It all comes down to the taste of a dumpling, which he knows so well after being fed them every night for fifteen years. After many restaurants, he tracks down what he is after.
After some great running battles with the gang who kidnapped him, and a lovely scene between a hammer and a set of teeth, we reach a dire crescendo, as Old Boy finally finds his man (Yuu-ji Taie), and realises the gravity of the situation.
The storyline has to be one of the most disturbing in the history of film, but it is done with such a romanticism, that it touches every sense. A highly recommendable watch for all those who enjoy watching a movie made from the heart.
One thing that I found truly inspiring about ‘Old Boy’ is the style in which it has been filmed. The cinematography is superior, and the added effects, although slight, are cleverly done. The movie definitely has a whole room of darkness thrust into it, but it needs it to make it such a compelling watch.
Old Boy is a movie unto itself, and all those who dare to take the ride would surely agree.