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Boksuneun naui Geot

Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance

South Korea 2002
produced by
Lee Jae-sun, Lim Jin-gyu, Lee Kang-bok (executive), Seok Dong-jun (executive) for CJ Entertainment, Studio Box
directed by Park Chan-wook
starring Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Bae Du-na, Lim Ji-eun, Han Bo-bae, Kim Se-dong, Lee Dae-yeon, Lee Kan-hie, Jeong Jae-yeong, Oh Kwang-rok
written by Lee Jae-sun, Lim Jee Mu-yeong, Lee Yong-jong, Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The sister (Lim Ji-eun) of deaf-mute Ryu (Shin Ha-kyun) sesperately needs a kidney transplant, but since her blood type is very rare, a proper kidney for her is not easily found ... so Ryu even turns to organ thieves to provide him withthe kidney - but they only take his money and his kidney and make a clean getaway.

Soon afterwards, the hospital informs Ryu they have found a kidney matching his sister's bloodtype, but now Ryu has no more money to pay for the operation - the organ thieves have taken it all.

So he and his girlfriend Yeong-mi (Bae Du-na) - a girl with confused leftist ideas - think up a desperate plan: they want to kidnap Yoosun (Han Bo-bae), the daughter of Ryu's former boss Park (Song Kang-ho), and hold her for ransom - not much, just enough to pay for Ryu's sister's surgery. The kidnapping goes well, and during the time they hold her, Ryu, his sister and Yeong-mi all make friends with the little girl. Even the handover of the money goes well, since Park has kept his promise and not called the police.

But when Ryu returns home with the money, he finds his sister has committed suicide. So he drives her - and Yoosun, whom he hasn't yet released - to the lake where they spent their childhood and buries her. But while he's so caught up in burying her, he fails to realize that a mentally challenged man threatens Yoosun, so much so that she jumps into the lake and drowns. Only when his sister is duly buried does Ryu - who being deafmute couldn't hear the girl's screams for help - realize the disaster that has happened, which is all the more tragic since he really liked the girl.

When Park learns about his daughter's death from the police, who have found his daughter's body, he has only one thought, revenge - but at first he doesn't even know whom to have his revenge on. Only gradually, from a cop who lets himself being bribed as he needs the money for his son's kidney transplantation (much like Ryu needed the money), does Park find out about a certain deafmute and his girlfriend, and somehow he finds a trail leading him back to the lake where his daughter was found - where he finds Ryu's sister's grave, ironically with the help of the same mentally challenged man who was actually responsible for his daughter's death.

Ryu meanwhile wants revenge as well, revenge on the organ thieves who forced him to kidnap the girl in the first place, and with Yeong-mi as a decoy, he soon gains entrance to their hide-out and kills them all.

Park meanwhile has found out Yeong-mi, tied her to a chair and is now treating her with electroshocks to learn about the whereabouts of Ryu. Yeong-me won't tell though but apologizes for the murder of his daughter and threatens that her terrorist group will kill him. He's not impressed and eventually grills her to death. Then he goes to Ryu's place and waits.

Ryu though has meanwhile found out about his girlfriend's death and'w on't return home until at least hte wound inflicted on him by one of the organ thieves is healed. Then he makes up a good plan to enter his appartment and surprise Park when he's asleep. What he didn't expect though is that Park has wired up the door to the appartment, and when Ryu tries to open it, he receives a massive shock ...

When he wakes up, Ryu finds himself all tied up in the lake little Yoosun died in, and Park cuts the arteries of his feet to slowly let him bleed to death ...

It seems as if Park ahs the last laugh, but then, as he is about to bury Ryu, Yeong-mi's terrorist group does show up and they cold-bloodedly kill him.


At times, this film is incredibly violent, even if the violence is not always all that graphic or explicite - which of course doesn't make the violence less disquieting. But the film doesn't work so much as a gore movie or standard revenge thriller but more as a very bitter black comedy and bleak social satire. Many of the unusual plottwists of the story - up until Park's death at the hands of a terrorist group noone, not even the audience, ever believed in - can actually be taken as quite funny only toned down by the overall serious subject matter of the film. On the other hand, the very downbeat story never really gets one down due to its underlying irony. In other words, a film well worth watching.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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... and for the life of it,
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD