Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is about the people who do bad things for good reasons and become bad people for worse reasons.
The film is also about comeuppance, which is not usual for a thriller like this but the way it's handled is unique.
The film tells a story which is not black and white, good verse evil. There is no Jesus or Satan in the movie but a little of both. When it comes down to it, you have to be human, with a clear understanding of the life to really grasp the feelings and thoughts on the screen. You won't enjoy it but it will reflect life back to you, its most terrible parts.
Ryu loves his sister, who is dying from a kidney ailment and will do anything, including selling his own kidney to some organ traffickers to get ten million won to pay for it - he does not have the same blood type as hers so it is not simple to just use his. When they take his kidney, leave him naked on the dirty floor with no money he needs new options.
He decides, with his anarchist girlfriend Cha, to kidnap the young daughter of his bosses friend for 26 million won, enough to pay for the kidney and make their lives a little better.
It does not get better.
There are series of tragedies that take place. Things I could write about that if I do they wouldn't hit you as hard as if you watch it yourself.
The director, Park Chan-wook, sets you up the same way life sets you up for tragedy. It is sudden, heartbreaking, all the more miserable and shocking because sometimes before the news of cancer or prison or losing a job, you were happy, maybe at your most joyful. Then, moments comes, when you are so low, numb even, and then, it's gets worse.
When you are at those kinds of lows you'll almost do things you thought only those "other people" would do, because they're crazy after all, they are evil, they miserable fucks with not meaning except to create misery.
How shallow the human race is to think such a thing?
We are, and we do.
The violence in the film is appropriate. It's sudden, deadly and when it's comes you are almost as cold as the people doing it because the film half of the film made that way, you see it and you feel it and you almost don't care about it.
Revenge is answer for these people. They have nothing left. Not that they had anything before but they each realized how much they loved it when it was no longer there.
Park Chan-wook made Oldboy, this came before it. He also made a third film, called Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. This is a trilogy about revenge in a way that is so far removed from Hollywood revenge films that the American side of this subject should be comedies.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is not entertainment. No, it's primal.