Director: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Lee Young-ae, Choi Min-sik, Kwon
Yea-young, Kim Si-hu, Nam Il-woo
RunTime: 1 hr 52 mins
Released By: Shaw & Festive Films
Opening Day: 20 October 2005
Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae), a beautiful girl who cannot help but
draw attention from all the men around her, becomes a public
figure of notoriety when she is arrested and charged for the
abduction and murder of a six year-old boy, at the age of
only nineteen. Being so young and pretty, her horrific crime
obsesses the media. They are shocked when Geum-ja confesses,
and is sent to prison on a long-term sentence;
now, 13 years have passed and in that time, Geum-ja has been
the most hardworking and model prisoner, earning the nickname
Geum-ja, however, has not been idle during her time inside.
For 13 years, she has plotted revenge against her former teacher,
Mr. Baek (Choi Min-sik). Her kindness while in “the
joint” has paid off and has now gained her many friends
and allies. Now that Geum-ja is getting out of jail, she is
ready to put her carefully conceived plan into action, abetted
by some of her former inmates.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is the final installment of Korean
director, Park Chan-Woon’s vengeance trilogy (The vengeance
trilogy consist of the critically acclaimed and controversial
“Oldboy” and “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”).
For the finale, He bought back Lee Young-ae whom he worked
with before in his first successful movie “Joint Security
Area” as the female protagonist instead of the male
protagonist that was used in the previous two films about
setup for this story was a simple and direct one. Geum-Ja
(Lee Young-ae) was made a scapegoat by her teacher, Mr. Baek
(Choi Min-sik), for the crime of kidnapping and murdering
a five-year-old kid. Fast-forward thirteen and half years
later, the seemingly reformed “Kind Hearted” Geum-Ja
(Lee Young-ae) was released and is hell bent on carrying out
her quest for revenge, which she has been preparing during
her jail time.
adopted an interestingly eccentric method of telling the flash
back tales of Geum-Jin’s time in Jail and her past prior
to her imprisonment. Park’s method of using surrealistic
images was rather similar to the French Movie “Le Fabuleux
destin d'Amélie Poulain”, were the main story
line is often interrupted by series of entertaining flash
backs. Both films even share a similar comical scene consisting
a character that was literally beaming with joy.
dark humour in this violent tale, “Sympathy for Lady
Vengeance” has less visceral effect than “Oldboy”.
As in “Se7en”, most of the disturbing violent
scene takes place off screen, making the effect of violence
and not violence itself the driving force of this film. In
a way it helps viewers who does not have a penchant for grotesque
violence to be able to watch Geum-Jin dish out her revenge
without turning away in disgust.
couldn’t be a better time since Lee Young-ae had recently
gained popularity with Asian viewers with her role as Chang
Jin in the popular Korean period drama “Jewel in the
Palace”. In many ways, Lee Young-ae’s character
in this movie bore many similarities with Chang-Jin. Both
characters are seeking justice to the sufferings they had
to endure and both are just as equally resourceful in getting
the justice done. There was even a joke in “Sympathy
For Lady Vengeance” about the food that Geum-Jin prepared
was fit for a king to consume as Chang Jin did in “Jewel
of the Palace”.
you can get too comfortable with the kindhearted demure character
that most viewers had associated her with, Lee Young-ae revealed
the ruthless nature in Geum-Jin that would most likely surprise
many of her fans. Now when you hear her first line in this
movie, “Why don’t you go screw yourself”,
you know that you will have hell of a performance from Lee
Young-ae as an anti-heroine who desperately seeks redemption
and revenge at the same time.
notable supporting cast in “Sympathy For Lady Vengeance”
was the lead actor of “Oldboy”, Choi Min-sik.
Doing a role reversal here from the victim role in “Oldboy”,
the veteran actor plays Mr. Baek is able to convince the audience
within a short amount of screen time that he capable of all
sort of atrocious acts that he committed, just as those that
was done to him in “Oldboy”.
For Lady Vengeance” packs a unique mix of comic flair
with brutal tortures. This movie will prove to be another
accolade for Park’s cinematic flair and storytelling.
The endearing performance from Lee Young-ae would likely be
able to delight and surprise many of her fans. Another Korean
Movie that shouldn’t be missed.
is a dish best served by this Lady Vengeance)
by Richard Lim Jr