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Chinjeolhan Geumjassi

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Lady Vengeance

South Korea 2005
produced by
Cho Young-wuk, Lee Chun-yeong, Lee Tae-hun, Miky Lee for Moho Films, CJ Entertainment
directed by Park Chan-wook
starring Lee Yeong-ae, Choi Min-sik, Lee Seung-Shin, Kwon Yea-young, Go Su-hee, Kim Bu-seon, Kim Byeong-ok, Kim Shi-hoo, Nam Il-woo, Oh Dal-su, Ra Mi-ran, Seo Yeong-ju, Oh Kwang-rok, Tony Barry, Anne Cordiner, Lee Dae-yeon, Lim Su-gyeong, Kang Hye-jeong, Shin Ha-kyun, Sibg Kang-ho, Yu Ji-tae, Yun Jin-seo, Ryoo Seung-wan
written by Jeong Seo-Gyeong, Park Chan-wook, music by Choi Seung-hyeon, Jo Yeong-wook, Na Seok-joo

Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae) has been in prison for 13  years for kidnapping and killing a 5 year old boy, now she's out and she wants revenge on Baek (Choi Min-sik), the man who got her into prison in the first place, and she does so by heavily relying on her friends from jail ...

And while Geum-ja prepares her revenge, the audience learns more about the background of her crime: Geum-ja has gotten pregnant at age 18, and somehow found abode at her English teacher, Baek (he was not the father of the child) - but what she didn't know was that Baek was running a kidnapping operation on the side, and soon enough he made Geum-ja part of the operation ... and when the cops were closing in on him after he killed another five year old, he made her confess to the murder, threatening to kill her newborn daughter if she refuses ... and thus Geum-ja went to prison for 13 years, where she evenm committed her first real murder when poisoning the prison bully who constantly tortured her cellmates, which brought her great respect.

Now out again, Geum-ja tracks down her daughter Jenny (Kwong Yea-young) in Australia, where she lives with foster parents (Tony Barry, Anne Cordiner), just to pay her a visit ... but the girl actually wants to stay with her, and thus she has to bring the girl back to Korea with her and care for her while at the same time bringing her vengeance to an end.

Ulotimately, Geum-ja gets her hands on Baek, and on videotapes of him torturing and killing small children ... and ultimately she assembles the parents or next of kin to have their vengeance on Baek - which they do with great pleasure, virtually taking him apart alive before Geum-ja kills him by a bullet in the head ...

 

Basically, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance suffers from what most of director Park Chan-wook suffer from: A way too constructed story that at times suspends belief way beyond breaking point and that is unnecessary convoluted, especially given the fact that the basic story as such is pure pulp. Add to this some way too slick camerawork and sudden outbursts of madness and violence that are way too well orchestrated to fully convince - and you can't help but finding this film a tad pretentious, again given the pulp plot of the film. That's not to say that Sympathy for Lady Vengeance isn't without its moments, at times it's even very entertaining - it just seems to repeatedly fall flat of reaching its lofty goals of being a cinematic masterpiece or even arthouse cinema as such ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
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and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD