Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

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from IMDB: In Seoul, the deaf and dumb worker Ryu is very attached to his sister, who needs a transplantation of kidney. He tries to donate his own kidney to his sister, but his blood B type is not compatible with her. When Ryu is fired from Ilshin Electronics, he meets illegal dealers of organs and the criminals propose Ryu’s kidney plus ten millions Won per a kidney suitable for his sister. Ryu accepts the trade, but he does not have money to pay for the surgery. His anarchist revolutionary girlfriend Cha Young-mi convinces him to kidnap Yossun, the daughter of his former employer Park, who owns Ilshin Electronics. However, a tragedy happens, generating revenge and a series of acts of violence.

When it comes to the Vengeance trilogy, i wish i didn’t have to write about it (hence my incredibly long wait to post something on the subject) because i don’t want to ruin it with words that have most certainly already be said, written, and discussed countless of times.

So instead, let me just tell you the basics and post some pictures. Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance is a 2002 movie written and directed by (the one and only!) Park Chan-Wook. It stars and Ha-kyun Shin as Ryu, a deaf and dumb guy ready to do anything to save his sick sister, and Song Kang-ho (The Good, The Bad, The Weird, The Host, Thirst) as Park Dong-jin, Ryu’s cruel and nearly emotionless boss who becomes extremely sympathetic after experiencing the worst tragedy of all, the loss of his little daughter.

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The movie is cruel and gruesome and extremely violent, but also sad and heartbreaking and all the other conflicting emotions that come when you choose the path of Vengeance.  Ryu is dumb and deaf, and has a (really pretty) anarchic girlfriend, and they communicate thru sign language, and one of my favorite scenes is when they talk to each other on the bed, thru a mirror set in front of them.. so poetic.

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As always, Park Chan Wook challenges the audience with hard-to-swallow subjects and controversial (but sadly realistic) scenes, such as the one where a group of teenage boys are  against the apartment wall adjoining Ryu’s, furiously masturbating to the sounds of Ryu’s sister, thinking she is in the throes of orgasm. In actual fact, she is screaming in pain from her sickness, and Ryu, being deaf, is oblivious to the fact. That’s just one of the scenes that is simply just thrown in your face and hit all the right spots. And believe me when i tell you there is many, many more, but i don’t want to spoil it too much, just know that this is a masterpiece that needs to be seen regardless of your more or less appreciation for foreign cinema.

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When watching this movie, the obvious question that comes up is “who should i sympathies with?” or ” who deserves to be the victim and who deserves his revenge?” only you can answer that question. and i would love to hear your opinion about it, so feel free to drop a comment and let the debate start.

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9 Responses to “Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance”

  1. classic film! I love it!

  2. hagiblog Says:

    I still haven’t seen this one even though it’s sitting in my giant pile of movies. I’m gonna have to watch it just so I can share my thoughts on it with you.

  3. aaaahhh! SINNER! you have to watch this! ;)

    did you review Martyrs on your blog yet? i haven’t checked. but i’d love to talk about it with you.

  4. hagiblog Says:

    Now, wasn’t this movie part of trilogy of sorts? I can’t remember. If it is then I’ll have to make sure to watch them all together because I’m willing to bet I have them all around here somewhere.

    I sort of reviewed Martyrs but I didn’t give it the full review treatment since I hadn’t seen it with subs yet. I was still trying to figure the plot out but as I look back on it, it’s becoming an even better film. I believe a second viewing and a full review is in order.

  5. yes, it’s part of the Vengeance Trilogy by Park Chan Wook. i talked about it here a little

    https://zombiecupcakes.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/park-chan-wook/

    Oldboy is the second one and Lady Vengeance is the third. Oldboy is my favorite movie of all times so i will probably NEVER publish a real review, because honestly, i’m not worthy.

    And about Martyrs yes, it needs subtitles indeed, because it’s not just a horror movie with no subplot, it unfolds in many different ways and one of the reasons why it’s so disturbing is, in fact, the story. must see!!

  6. kabuki29 Says:

    Sympathy for Mr Vengance. One of the best movie that ever came from Korea. I have to confess it is not my favourite of the Vengance Triology (that would be Sympathy for Lady Vengance). I guess you could fill page after page with talk about the morals of this movie but I try to make it quick.

    As far the sympathy goes, mine is all with Ryu and his girlfriend. I remember that i read a articel about this movie where it was said that you are supposed to change sides during the movie.
    I did not. Ryu is clearly the tragic hero of this tale. Deaf and maybe not the brightest but still by far more sympathic then his counterpart.
    What he did was wrong, no doubt about it. You cant just kidnap a child for ransom, no reason cant justify that. But i felt his revenge (the killing of the Doctor and her two henchmen) was right.

    Park on the other hand has no sympathy from me. He was a rather hard man to begin with. And yes, the death of his daughter was a tragedy. But his killing / torture spree was simply a way to handle his feelings, not an act of revenge for his daughter’s death. He simply tried to fill the void her death left in him.
    And yes, I cheered at the end when he died.

  7. […] in 2005 by director Yim Pil-sung, Antarctic Journal scores korean actors as big as Song Kang-ho (Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, The Host) and Yoo Ji-tae (Oldboy, Into the Mirror) as members of an expedition team trying to […]

  8. […] of a catholic priest, Sang-hyun (impeccably played by korean superstar Song Kang-ho of The Host and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance) who loves life and humanity so much that he decides to volunteer for a medical experiment, only to […]

  9. […] pushes every kind of boundary while keeping you interested the whole way through. it reminded me of Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance more than a couple times, which is huge plus.. also, the photography is heartbreakingly […]

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