SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE
(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 3
Review from the CJ Entertainment 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 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 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 partly 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.
Supposedly ever since SYMPATHY FOR MR.VENGEANCE, Park Chan-Wook wanted to have his film fade to black and white. Well after deciding not to do it in MR.VENGEANCE and OLDBOY, he finally choosed to in LADY VENGEANCE. It is also a way for him to show us how Geum-Ja have her sins go away, how she finds redemption and litteraly turns white, just like the cake she is offered for doing her time in prison.
With the international acclaim of the masterfully crafted 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 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.
CJ Entertainment have released in South Korea, Park Chan-Wook's masterpiece on DVD in this amazing two disc edition. The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is enhanced for 16x9 television. This transfer is exactly what you would expect for a Korean release. The image is simply gorgeous and stunning. Its a necessity for such a film to bring its visual richness to the small screen too. The colors are perfectly saturated, with rich blacks, reds and blues. There is no compression, artifacts or grain of any sort. Simply amazing! The black & white version of the movie looks great too and features a very subtle transition change of image.
We get the choice of either a DTS or a 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks. Both of them are loud, crisp and clear giving the movie all the audio atmosphere it needs. This transfer was supervised by both the director and cinmatographer. Optional English and Korean subtitles are available.
On the first disc we get two commentary tracks, both in Korean and unfortunately without any English subs. The first track is with director Park Chan-Wook and lead actress Lee Young-Ae. The second one also features Park Chan-Wook who's joined by cinematographer Jung Jung-Hoon and art director Jo Hwa-Sung.
Remember unfortunately none of the extras on either disc features English subtitles, a shame. 'Making-of SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE' is a 11 minutes featurette on the making-of the film with a narration voiceover that follows the cast and crew behind-the-scenes. This could have been longer. In 'Characters of SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE' we get interviews with Lee Young-Ae, Choi Min Shik, the various actress who played the cellmates of Geum-Ja and the ones playing the families of the dead kids. ' SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE in Venezia' takes a look at the premiere of the film at the Venice Film Festival. We also get the stylish trailer, teaser trailer two tv spots and all 24 posters for the movie.
The second disc not only features the black & white version of the movie but many extras as well. First of all, there's an introduction by Park Chan-Wook. There's also an optional commentary track with Korean film critic, Kim Young-Jin. Next is a very good documentary on the film called 'Style of Lady Vengeance'. It is separated in numerous chapters, ttaking a look athe visualizaion, production design, costumes and make-ip, special and cg fx. Be sure to watch this only after seeing the movie because it is filled with spoilers. We also get seven alternate scenes with optional commentaries.
The movie is separated in 20 chapters, features nicely designed and very stylish animated menus, with a four pages booklet and comes in a digipack which itself comes in a keepcase. Without a doubt, one of my favorite and most anticipated release of 2005.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©
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