movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

HAIKU REVIEW: Organ transplant rings
May not act in your interest;
Prepare for vengeance.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Deaf mute resorts to crime to save dying sister; retard throws rocks and complicates things.

PEOPLE: Chan-wook Park‘s 1st movie in his excellent Vengeance Trilogy, which also includes the amazing Oldboy and incredible Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.

QUIRKS: The title literally means “Vengeance Is Mine”. The main character is deaf & mute, which makes the actor’s job somewhat unique.

VISUALS: I did not find this as visually striking or polished as the later 2 movies in the trilogy. However, Chan-wook Park is an excellent director, and there is much to appreciate in the cinematography of this film.

MORALS: The morals in this movie are very straightforward. Unlike Oldboy — which leaves you puzzling as to why everything is being done — it’s pretty straightforward as to why everyone is doing what they are doing.

BAD STUFF: Unfortunately, we did not catch on that there were 2 female characters until one of them was dead. It’s harder to tell Asians apart if you’re white — science has shown people can most easily distinguish among their own race — but really, the difference in hair length should have given it away. Somehow we both missed it. Carolyn would have realized it earlier and told me, but in one scene she thought the short-haired girl [the girlfriend] was a boy! It is unfortunate that such a small cultural barrier — actors from a different race — could affect our experience in such a confusing way… But this has happened many times with us and Asian cinema. Even anime. It’s a small price to pay for refreshingly different cinema.

I also have this problem with war movies. Even with Americans, if you cut all their hair and put them in the same uniform, I don’t know who is who, multiple characters become one character, nobody has a name, etc. etc.

Now, unrelated to our own viewing mistakes, this movie is a bit confusing at times. Like most of the Vengeance Trilogy. There isn’t much (if any) exposition, so you have to figure out what is happening yourself. It’s not always easy.

CONCLUSION: This was the worst of the 3 movies in Chan-wook Park‘s Vengeance Trilogy… But it really does an excellent job of setting the stage for the next 2 movies, Oldboy & Sympathy For Lady Vengeance. And was still a very good movie!

RATINGS: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: Clint: 8/10. Carolyn: 9/10.

RECOMMENDATION: I’d watch Oldboy first, THEN Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, THEN this movie. That’s the order we watched them the 1st time, and it seemed to work well.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: View Marcello M’s review over at JapanCinema.net, where he reviews this film and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance in a single article.

Mood: laughing
Music: Alex Skolnick Trio – Scorch