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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – English Review

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He will come for you and hurt you!

A man who is deaf tries to help his sister, who’s dying. She needs a kidney transplant, but they need a large sum of money to pay for the operation. They don’t have that amount of money when the deaf man loses his job. He kidnaps the daughter of the business owner who fired him. And that turns out to be a stupid choice because something terrible will happen.

This is the first movie in the revenge trilogy that director Park Chan-wook is best known for. The other two movies are Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Many have Oldboy as their favorite movie in the trilogy, but I think Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the best movie in the trilogy. All three movies are great, but there is something about Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance that I feel is interesting. How far would you have gone if this had happened to you? But I also love the editing. The movie has a pace that the two next movies can’t match.

There are some spoilers here, so don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie. We get to know the characters in the first hour of the movie. Everything goes according to plan, but then something terrible happens. The young girl drowns, and the father is devastated, and he’s searching for the kidnappers so he can get his vengeance. This leads to an awful torture scene where he tortures of one the kidnappers with electricity. Meanwhile, the deaf-mute man with green hair goes crazy after being tricked by some people who sell and buy human organs.

For some people, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance may be a little slow. But it takes off in the last half hour. The movie is dark, and it doesn’t have a happy ending. The actors are fantastic, and they do an outstanding job.

What’s interesting is that the director first wanted Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance to be a black comedy. I love black comedies, and there are some funny scenes here that made me laugh out loud. But then the movie changes completely when the avenging father loses control of himself, and the movie gets much darker. I love the scenes with the disabled person who shows up in no-man’s-land. The whole scenario when he shows up is crazy and brilliant! He’s like an alien who doesn’t belong there.

This was probably the fourth time I watched the movie, and I discovered now how great the flow is. What I feel is special with this movie is how Park Chan-wook has edited the movie. Most movies show some of the aftermaths of a terrible event, but this movie skips what usually follows and gets straight to the point. It works perfectly. I know how other movies would have shown us everything, and I didn’t miss it at all. This is a movie that doesn’t waste any time. The plot never goes around in circles.

As mentioned, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance takes off completely when there are about 30 minutes left. When you think the movie is over, someone else dies. I ended up fast-forwarding past the end credits to see if they would kill some other characters. But then I found out there are no more characters left to kill!

Rating: 10/10

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