"Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone."
There's a gross moment in this mind-bending thriller where Oh Dae-su actually eats a living octopus. At first I thought it's significance wasn't worth it's weight. It wasn't till my second viewing that I realize the living part of that was relative to Oh's desire to consume life after being locked up for 15 years. The character we're introduced to in the first moments, a drunk man with a gift for his daughter, is not the same man who is released from that isolated prison. In a sense, Oh has been reborn, emerging into the world like a baby wobbling about unable to see because of the sun's glaring brightness. The film doesn't truly begin until Oh fights his way to a small victory. A blood one shot take where he barely survives a battle with ten enemies. It's a truly classic moment and a textbook example of a one take. Just as Oh finds hope in this mystery the box opens and we discover the tragic truth. A discovery I hope you'll decide to seek yourself. I was overwhelmed my first watch. My second watch only days later I finally grasped it and fell in love as my heart sank. Oldboy has more inspiration from Shakespeare than it does from the thrillers of the 1990's. It's violent and sexual themes too taboo for Hollywood today. But as Roger Ebert says in his review, "content does not make a movie good or bad -- it is merely what it is about. Oldboy is a powerful film not because of what it depicts, but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare." There are powerful and uncomfortable moments and questions posed throughout this violent and tragic film and it's all worth experiencing, if not once than twice.