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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

A 2002 South Korean revenge drama directed by Park Chan-wook.

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The Crazy Ones Are Always Wearing Jackets

  • Dec 27, 2006
Park Chan-wook's Vengeance trilogy sure does give you a break from the normal film and it makes you appreciate Korean cinema. I saw Oldboy first and I was impressed and it is now one of my favorite films so initially I had to see the rest of the trilogy. First, if you are wondering what the violence is around I think it exceeds Oldboy a little and though most of the film can be comical or even sad at times the violent scenes has its moments. The film is about a deaf-mute man named Ryu who comes off as a gentle guy caring for his sweet sister who is in need of a kidney. Ryu has quits school and gets a job to care for her and though she is grateful she constantly reminds him not to let her become a burden to him but she is everything to him and he would never call her such a thing.

Ryu keeps trying to get the doctors to give his sister his kidney but he is not the correct blood type and he is out of ideas. He finds a number for black market organ dealers and they tell him that he must give them his kidney and $10 million won ($10,000) and he gladly gives them both. He wakes up in the middle of a building with a new scar and nobody in sight. When Ryu goes to the doctor the man tells him that they found a kidney but he has to pay $10 million won but he doesn't have it. This sets in a major amount of events from Ryu having to kidnap his boss's daughter to both the girl's father and Ryu going on killing sprees to get revenge on everyone that has done them wrong and basically they don't stop until they find each other.

This film is just like Oldboy in the sense that you can read all these reviews or the synopsis all day long and the entire time your thinking darn I wish I didn't read this because this just told me the entire story. You go on thinking the film is ruined because you know everything that is going to happen like you just read the beginning, middle, and end but trust me you haven't. All three of these films has a creative way of turning a person that thinks they know into a person that knows nothing and at the end you find yourself staring at the screen with a hanging jaw. Though I give Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 5 stars I did have a couple of problems with. The biggest problem being that it moves to future events without making clear how or when something important happened in the film.

One example is when Ryu and his girlfriend are planning to kidnap his bosses daughter Ryu realizes that he can't do it because he was fired and he would be the first person the police call in but you never saw or heard Ryu get fired. Another example is after the scene where the two realize he can't kidnap the girl the film jumps to a scene where him, his sister, his girlfriend, and a little girl are playing in a park and your thinking who is that girl with them? The girl is later named the daughter if his ex boss but I for one would have like to have known some details like how they got the girl. Besides those few flaws the film is very impressive, I love the pace of the film though some people might find it to be slow at times. One heads up is to ignore the preview; I think there is one on the Oldboy DVD. The preview shows a crappy picture and is just overall a sucky preview that would turn more people off of it than attract them.

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More Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance reviews
Quick Tip by . June 27, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
I had no idea what to expect (other than vengeance) from Sympathy for Mr. Vengeace, the first film of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy. I've liked Park's dark take on the thematic material he works with as best exemplified in the second film of the trilogy Oldboy, but at the same time I wasn't as impressed with his vampire film Thirst. However, being open to new filmmakers and being a lover of foreign cinema, I decided to give this a try and was rather pleasantly surprised.   …
review by . August 29, 2009
posted in ASIANatomy
dvd by Tartan
   SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE is the first chapter of Park Chan-Wook's vengeance trilogy. Oldboy was released first in U.S. shores, this film was released after on dvd. (When it fact this is the first chapter). After Park's breakout hit "J.S.A.", the director was finally able to make the films she always wanted to, I've read that Park originally wrote the script for "Mr. Vengeance" almost 10 years before he managed to shoot the film. This film was highly anticipated …
review by . January 05, 2007
Asians excel at horror because, not having to pander to Hollywood's rules, they can take you anywhere at all. For all this filmed was billed as a gory horror, violence was minimal, and certainly not gratuitous, but was good when it happened!    The film revolves around the lives of a deaf-mute and his sister who requires a kidney transplant. A kidnap attempt to raise money goes tragically wrong, and much blood-letting ensues. The ending makes me wince to this day. …
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Keith A Jones ()
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Before he made the notorious cult hit Oldboy, South Korean director Chan-wook Park created Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, an equally gruesome yet elegant meditation on revenge. Desperate to get a kidney transplant for his dying sister, a deaf and dumb young man named Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin, Save the Green Planet!) kidnaps the daughter of a wealthy industrialist named Park (Kang-ho Song, Shiri). Despite Ryu's best intentions, things go horribly awry, setting in motion a series of escalating revenges--to describe the plot in more detail would undercut the movie, because much of its power comes from the spare and skillful storytelling. Chan-wook Park is careful to ground the audience in the characters' emotional lives; when the violence begins, the bloody events unfold with the hypnotic power of the revenge tragedies of the Shakespearean era, which had over-the-top plots and littered the stage with bodies, yet were full of rich poetry. Park's eye for startling images and careful editing creates a visual poetry, grotesque yet often haunting. Certainly not a film for everyone--squeamish viewers had best beware, while anyone who wants their violence flagrant and guilt-free will be disappointed--but cinephiles looking to have their hearts squeezed along with their stomachs will enjoy Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.--Bret Fetzer
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Director: Park Chan-wook
Genre: Crime, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Release Date: March 29, 2002
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Tartan Video
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