- X 2019
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
South Korea 2005
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
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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 ...