So up this week we got Oldboy, those who have seen it may have just gasped, remembering the gut wrenching twists and turns that movie puts you through. I will break this movie down by first saying yes, it is a foreign movie and, although I generally avoid the foreign genre because of its lackluster appeal to the masses, I urge anyone to partake in this film as its appeal is universal and it absolutely stands atop of any film buffs thriller list.
The Good: Oldboy is a revenge tale based off the Japanese manga of the same name. It strikes at the heart of human emotion and does so with a unique storyboard that will leave viewers in awe. The score, cinematography, and pacing are all top notch and really allow the viewer to be drawn in to the story. The list of awards for this film is overwhelming, as it has not gone unnoticed by critics. The list includes perfect ratings from Roger Ebert, Peter Bradshaw the Chicago Sun-Times as well as winning the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix of the Jury and the British International Film Festivals Best Foreign Independent Film.
The Bad: As well written as the script is, there are holdbacks from the acting in this movie. As with other “Asian Films” some of the acting from supporting characters can appear forced and contrived which can lead to shallow character development. Some may find that it can take away from the otherwise stellar storytelling and presentation.
The Ugly: Netflix, what can I say? They seem to be making poor decisions all over the place. As with the case with other foreign films, they have chosen to upload the dubbed version rather than the subtitled ones. This fact alone kept this movie as well as others from their weekly feature status for a long time and it really takes a great deal from delivery of the these foreign gems.
The Conclusion: Despite the Netflix upload butchering and some acting drawbacks, Oldboy should not go unwatched. It gives the viewer an experience so special that it really is unrivaled in the genre. If Chuck Norris wrote Thrillers, they would almost be as good as this one.