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Pre-remake review: Oldboy

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Shakespearean in violence, Asian in execution. Park’s beautiful visuals, fluid and full of momentum, create a brilliant technical piece of filmmaking. Including a twist so emotional, it damages you. The villain is a true description of villainous, exerting all his will in revenge. Although dark and twisted, it maintains humor and the ability to still be moving. It’s filled to the brim with visceral shocks and an impact that is hard to shake.

Spike Lee claims that this “re-imagining” is akin to covering a song. It is in no way an attempt to remake the film. It’s unlikely that Spike Lee would be able to capture Park’s unique visual style and philosophies that add to the themes of Oldboy. Woo Chun Park has given his blessing to the project, with one request, that it not be the same film.

The original film being as good as it was, is there a need for it to be retold. This will bring the story to a new audience, a western audience that Spike Lee may have the ability to captivate that Park could not. Yet Oldboy’s strengths was never in its story; it was in its technical intricacies and stunning visuals; Its fluidity and momentum. Based on pure cinematics it is superb, when it style speaks this loudly, it is difficult to see how a re-telling could work without Park. Lee is a good director, and it could be the case that he understands this, who is looking to make this more a story driven film than a character study. There has been no story spoiler released yet, and the director is making sure to keep them close to his chest.

I’m sceptical as to if it is needed, but that’s not exactly the correct question to be asking. I guess we will find out what the question should be.

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Jack Nicol

Film Editor 2013/14

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