Chan-wook Park is no doubt one of the most interesting filmmakers alive today. In 2002, he began what he dubs his “vengeance” trilogy with “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.” It was definitely a strong film but nowhere near as powerful as his next release, “Oldboy.” That blood-soaked tale of revenge is arguably one of the best films of the decade, and sure to be one of the greatest films ever made.
Now he returns to finish what he started. “Lady Vengeance” isn’t as horrifying as its predecessor but it’s certainly powerful enough to end the trilogy on a high note. One thing is for sure, he certainly knows what he is doing and this film is further proof that no one dishes out vengeance quite like Chan-wook Park.
Lee Geum-Ja is thrown in jail at age 19 for confessing to the brutal murder of a young boy. Although Lee never committed the actual crime, she spends the next 13 years behind bars rather constructively, working on a vengeful plot, which is to begin the moment she is released. Meanwhile, as some of her weaker cellblock mates have trouble dealing with the more experienced jailbirds, Lee quietly causes “accidents” to those causing trouble, and the women she helps quickly offer up their services for when her plan is finally executed.
Since she didn’t really kill the boy, why was she so willing to confess? It’s something that must not be revealed in a simple review. Part of the fun of watching a film by Park is watching the plot unravel itself like a tangled ball of yarn. His films are so intricate and involving; they don’t require just one simple viewing. It’s necessary to see these more than once so no detail goes unnoticed and this film is no exception. “Lady Vengeance” is a brutal mystery that’s more beautifully poetic than the previous entries but still just as captivating. From opening to closing credits, every image is photographed as if it were a painting; even those involving ferocious violence are wonderful to look at. This is simply not a film to be missed or ignored.