"I don't feel enjoyment watching films that evoke passivity." DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: CHAN-WOOK PARK
3 months ago
No one in Hollywood gets violence the way Chan-Wook Park does. He is more in line with the Peckinpah and Haneke school of thought... that violence is not entertainment and it is not fun. If it must be included in a story, it should be executed with realisim. So... unlike the films of Hollywood, which throw explosions, car chases, and gunfights at their audiences... Chan-Wook Park treats us to something that makes us... uncomfortable.
None of his action is stylized. You will never see a character say something cool before executing a villian in a climactic and audience-pleasing way... instead... you get a man who shits himself after being beaten by a baseball bat... a hero who acts like a dog at the feet of his successful rival... and a woman burying her face and her tears in a cake on a snowy night after convincing a group of people to murder a child-killer.
Each film is completly unique:
Lady Vengeance is more of a drama than anything else. It's worth noting that the Directors Cut is the only way to watch this feature, since it's steady change from color to black and white is surprisingly important to the narrative's resonance.
OldBoy is a classic... and it's probably the most twisted of the three, with a lot of taboo pushing material and a sharp ending.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a crime film done right. It's complex, it's audacious, and it's sporadic violence will stick to you long after the credits have rolled.
These are not nice movies. They are the types of films where the hero's and the villains are equally flawed, and where there are no "winners and losers". You get the kinetic force of an action film... but without the payoff that most films would try to comfort you with.
The Vengeance Trilogy is not a pat on the back; it's a sudden and cruel punch to the throat... and it's the recovery afterwards.
All three of these films are powerful pieces of art that put noteworthy directors to shame. In fact, they scoff in the face of conventional and safe filmmaking. They are violent, biting, witty, and dark... above all things... they are dark.