(original title: CHINJEORHAN GEUMJA-SSHI)
Directed and Written by Park Chan-Wook
Produced by Lee Choon-Young
Cinematography by Jung Jung-Hoon
Music by Jo Young-Wook
Cast: Lee Young-Ae, Choi Min-Shik, nam Il-Woo, Kwon ye-Young, Kim Shi-Hoo, Kim Byung-Ok, Oh Dal-Soo, Lee Seung-Shin, Kim Bu-Seon, Go Soo-Hee, Anne Cordiner, Tony Barry, Oh Gwang-Rok, Song Kang-Ho, Shin ha-Gyun, Yoo Ji-Tae, kang Hye-Jung, Yoon Jin-Seo, Lee Dae-Yeon, Ryu Seung-Wan
2.35:1 anamorphic/Korean/South Korea/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Tartan Video DVD
An elegant but cold figure woman is leaving the subway station. That poor woman did time in prison for a terrible crime. Thankfully, she found religion and God in prison thanks to the guidance of Mr. Jeon. He is welcoming her to the outside world, but shockingly she told him to "#@*%" himself!
Lee Geum-Ja spend 13 and a half years in prison for the murder of a six years old boy. She became a notorious kidnapper and murderer thanks to all the media hype around it. Yet she paid deeply for her sin and innocence to the man, Mr. Baek, who ruined her life and took away her daughter. Now it is time for revenge. A sweet revenge she has been planning during her time. A cruel, sadistic, tragic but sweet revenge.
While in prison, Geum-Ja soon became the favorite of everyone, "Kind Geum-Ja" as they would say. She helped her roomates with various things but they didn't know that they would later have to repay her. The kind Geum-Ja had infact done all of this so that they couldn't refuse to help her when the time will be right for her sweet revenge.
But before she can do what she's been dreaming of for the last 13 and a half years, she must find out what happened to her daughter.
Told mainly in flashbacks, for a third time in a row director Park Chan-Wook created the impossible... a perfect movie. Visually breath taking and masterfully crafted, the haunting story of Geum-Ja unfolds before our eyes in shock, sadness and tragedy. This is not your average movie that goes from point A to B. This is story telling at its best and most gripping.
There's so many scenes from the film that I loved so much that I could mentioned. One of them is when the character of Geum-Ja decides to contact the parents of the dead children, it become much more the just a personal revenge which could have easily turned the movie into pure exploitation. Instead it gave the movie a reflection on the meaning of revenge, its purpose and possible redemption. This was followed by what was for me one of the hardest scene ever, if you are a parent you will understand.
With the international acclaim of the masterfully crrafted OLDBOY, director Park Chan-Wook immediatly announced that he will be doing yet another revenge based movie. While people are claiming that this movie along with OLDBOY and SYMPATHY FOR MR.VENGEACE are a trilogy isn't really the truth. All three movies have the theme of revenge as the main purpose of the lead characters but each stories are completely different and features different characters but in some case, represented by the same actors.
With all the cameos in the film, this is a nice "ending" to his so called "trilogy" and a celebration of South Korean cinema. A genre that in recent years as gained respect around the world, thanks a lot to Park Chan-Wook himself.
Tartan Video have released Park Chan-Wook's masterpiece on DVD in a one disc edition. The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for 16x9 television. While not as sharp as the amazing South Korean edition, the image looks great with rich color saturation, no compression or artifacts. Unfortunately, the black & white version of the movie is nowhere to be found. We get the choice of either a DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Korean audio tracks. All of them are loud, crisp and clear giving the movie all the audio atmosphere it needs. The DTS track especially stands out thanks to his subtility and aggressivity. Optional English and Spanish subtitles are available.
We get three very interesting commentary tracks. The first with director Park Chan-Wook and actress Lee Young-Ae. This one has some quiet moments but still is entertaining. The second one with Richard Pena, Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and an Associate Professor of Film at Columbia University. Lots of interesting details on the symbolism and themes of the movie are mentioned in this track but its feels too much like Pena is reading something he wrotes before the recording, making it less personal and more technical. Finally the last one is with Park Chan-Wook, cinematographer Jung Jung-Hoon and art director Cho Hwa-Sung. The three remembers all the details behind the making-of this masterpiece making it the more interesting track of the three.
'The Making of LADY VENGEANCE' is a good but rather short 10 minutes featurette on the film. Next is an interesting 45 minutes interview with the director joined by a translator. Park goes indepth behind most of the aspect of his movie. Next is the original Korean theatrical trailer and the US theatrical trailer. Finally, we get trailers for other Tartan Asia Extreme releases; SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, OLDBOY, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS, NATURAL CITY, AB-NORMAL BEAUTY, SPIDER FOREST, MAREBITO and KOMA.
The movie is separated in 16 chapters, features animated menus, a four pages booklet and comes in a digipack which itself comes in a keepcase. While not as spectacular as the South Korean two disc edition, the best movie of 2005 is finally available in Region 1 NTSC.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©
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