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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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CastKang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae, Ji-Eun Lim, Bo-bae Han
DirectorPark Chan-wook
Genre:  Crime, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Release Date:  March 29, 2002
MPAA Rating:  R
Screen WriterJae-sun Lee, Jong-yong Lee, Mu-yeong Lee
DVD Release Date:  November 22, 2005
Runtime:  129 minutes
Studio:  Tartan Video
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Quick Tip by . June 27, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
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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 man......it 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. …
review by . December 27, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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