Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) film thoughts… Why it has taken me so long to see this Park Chan Wook film is beyond me but I finally did. Ok, I have seen both Oldboy and Lady Vengeance (part of the so named “Vengeance Trilogy”) and was saving this one for last, even though it’s the first film. It is really, really difficult to explain this without spoiling, there are three main characters to focus on: Ryu, a deaf and dumb young man, whose sister needs a kidney transplant; Yeong-mi, his anarchist girlfriend (played by Doona Bae from The Girl At My Door) and Dong-jin, a business owner who laid off Ryu from his job. First off, Ryu needs 10 million “dollars” to get his sister the operation, he finds out about underground organ dealers that will “help” but since his blood type is wrong for his sister, they want to take his and will find another donor. He gets jacked and his girlfriend suggests they then kidnap Dong-Jin’s daughter, which they do but there are tragic consequences and that leads Dong-Jin to hunt down Ryu..
I was literally stunned by how awesome this film was on every level. It’s near perfection from the cinematography, the acting, the script, etc. Even with all the weirdness Park throws into this thing, it is there for a reason. The way he sets up the vengeance of all the characters is unique from any other film out there, it all makes sense in the end. The story from the first frame is bleak and tragic, you know from the very beginning that will be no happy ending. I loved it and I will go out on a limb and call it better than the other two films in the “trilogy” (that is a tough one I know because Oldboy is near perfect too…)
This film is one of the harder Tartan titles to get these days but I do believe it has been released on other labels. It’s a must for your film collection.