Director Spike Lee’s remake of Park Chan-wook’s Korean, 2003 film of the same title, is shatteringly brutal, ugly and by far the most horrifying, disturbing movie of the year; its bloodthirsty, barbaric scenario is not for those of feint sensitivities; its meanness continues to haunt, days after viewing.
If revenge is best served cold “Oldboy” hovers at the Antarctica level. Josh Brolin’s performance as the alcoholic, self-centered “Joe Doucette” is intense, formidable; imprisoned for twenty years, baffled as to the cause; his life controlled by doctored television programs, reporting the rape and murder of his ex-wife (he being the perpetrator) and adoption of his daughter “Mia”; daily, writing unsent letters to Mia, save his sanity and fuel his justified paranoia; upon his release he funnels his murderous mania on those responsible for his internment.
“Oldboy” seethes with grotesque violence, yet its Machiavellian, macabre creativeness, keeps one riveted to the screen, at times, eyes averted, but powerless to leave.
Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” has reached cult status throughout Asia; avoidance, the only hope, that the West is saved from a similar destiny.