Squim rates it:
Community rates it: (no ratings yet)
249 of 490 readers found this review helpful.
It has been several months since I first viewed “Lady Vengeance” (or “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” in its international title), the third and final film in Chan-Wook Park’s Revenge trilogy, today I watched it for the third time in an attempt to come to an understanding of it. From the first viewing I knew “Lady Vengeance” was an excellent film, but it took me two more viewings to grow to the point were I was comfortable reviewing it. It may not reach the visceral heights of “OldBoy”, nor does it carry the gritty and disturbing weight that “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” has (the other two films in the Trilogy), but this film is none the less a beautiful and powerful film. In fact, “Lady Vengeance” is arguably Park’s most accomplished film on an artistic level. There are scenes within this film that are far more disturbing than most other movies coming out these days, but they are necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a brilliant film that any Cinema fan with a strong stomach should see.
Geum-ja Lee is being released from prison after serving 13 years for a murder she did not commit, yet confessed to. Her freedom was gained by being a model prisoner in the eyes of prison system. Now, back in the world of the free, she plans to draw a conclusion to a plot that began as soon as she was imprisoned. At the heart of her plan is revenge. The revenge is against the man responsible for the kidnapping and murder of the young man that she has been locked away for. As she comes closer to her final goal, her life in prison, the reasons she confused to a crime she did not commit, and the dark realities that were caused by her lie come into focus.
Like “OldBoy”, “Lady Vengeance” is a film with a pitch black sense of humor and visual flair. Park here creates some of his most stunning visuals, while keeping the story emotionally sincere. Shot after shot of this film carry both dream like imagery, and a mature sense of artistry. Though “Lady Vengeance” in its premise may not seem quit the unsettling juggernauts that the other two films were, be assured this film contains some highly disturbing scenes. Though the violence is often graphic in this film, the most disturbing images are not the bloody ones. The film warns under its R rating that it contains violence against children, and though these scenes are brief, they are none the less emotionally horrifying. Unlike many films, these scenes are not added for shock, but to add emotional depth the situations presented in this film.
At its core, “Lady Vengeance” is not as much about revenge, as it is about the desire for atonement. Thankfully the film never falls back on easy answers. Instead, even as the final credits roll, it forces the viewer to come to their own conclusions. This is not to say that the movie lacks closure, but the movie refuses to let Geum-ja Lee and the viewer off the moral and intellectual hook. Unlike the highly entertaining “Kill Bill”, past sins are not washed away with bloodshed. Geum-ja Lee made a mistake as a young girl, and sadly for her, the repercussions were far more tragic than the norm. Does this all make for an entertaining watch? Perhaps not, but it would be almost impossible to not be stunned by the amount of artistry present in "Lady Vengeance". Emotionally and visually it packs a punch that will not soon be forgotten.
For those not familiar with Chan-Wook Park’s work, "OldBoy" or "Lady Vengeance" may be the best starting points. Though they are both part of a Trilogy, it is a Trilogy in theme, not in plot. With the completion of this Trilogy, Park has proven to be not only one of the most talented directors in Asia, but in the world. "Lady Vengeance" in and of itself is a masterpiece. Though it is certainly not for the faint of heart, it deserves a viewing from any serious film buff. It is a film best experienced, not read about, and if you are still reading this, its time to rent/buy it. 4 ½ Cans.
Order from Amazon.com
Added: Tuesday, October 03, 2006
[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
[ Back to reviews index ]
Want to comment on this review?
Register here for a free user account, and you'll be able to.