movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I like movies, music and everything esle... ; ) oh... and i can't spell, so, please, no comments

Thursday, September 15, 2005

TORONTO - day 7

So I was fortunate enough to see my favorite movie of the festival this year as my last. SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE confirms Chan-wook Park as one of the best directors making movies today. It is the final installment in Park’s “Vengeance trilogy” (the first two being “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and “Oldboy”) and it is as good, if not better, than its predecessors. The basic story is simple… Guem-ja Lee is imprisoned for thirteen years for the kidnapping and murder of a five year old boy that she was innocent of. Now that she is out of prison, she is able to use the ‘friends’ that she made inside to carry out her plan of vengeance.

One of the things that I love about Park is that he presents violence in a realist manner. There are always consequences to the violence in his films. It is not easy to kill someone, and it is not pretty and clean either. He has formed a reputation for disturbing and sometimes grotesque scenes in his films and this movie has some of those. There is not as much violence, but there is maybe more disturbing events that unfold.

Park reteams with actress Yeong-ae Lee, who previously appeared in the excellent drama “Joint Security Area” in 2000. She is great in this film. Lee is hell bent on vengeance and will stop at nothing to carry out her plan. I won’t get into the obstacles that she faces along the way, but they are captivating and understandable. While this is a movie about vengeance, it is not a movie like “Kill Bill”, or “Death Wish”. There are really two standouts from the film. The first is the cinematography. Jeong-hun Jeong also worked with Park on Oldboy, but the look they created here is far more beautiful and haunting. The themes that are presented through the visuals like the use of the stark whites, black and vibrant colors are breath taking. This is, hands down, one of the best shot movies of the year.

The composition and camera movement brings me in part to the other stand out of “Lady Vengeance”… Chan-wook Park. This man knows how to direct. The movement and composition is handles with the ease of a master. It is elaborate, but does not draw attention to itself. All of his ‘tricks’ are used to tell to story and to make it more effective. While I have been a fan of Park’s other films, it was not until this one that I really put him up there among the greats. He is a talent that people need to discover.

One thing that I will say is that I hope that he never makes an American film. I saw what America did to directors like John Woo, and I would rather Park have the freedom in Korea that he would never be afforded here. As long as he keeps making films, I will keep watching… look for this one to be release in February.


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