(fr) wrote: whether you are a fan of the book it is based on or have never heard of it before, A Monster Calls is a touching and beautiful story that uses fantasy elements to present one of the most realistic depictions of people dealing with grief and pain. One of the most relatable and emotion films in recent memory, and will certainly become a hidden jem for anyone who comes across it.
(gb) wrote: Oldboy is sublime, and easily the standout film for me in the Vengeance trilogy. This brilliance is reflected in its widespread popularity. Winning the Grand Prix at Cannes, this film is by far bigger than Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance. It fully deserves its popularity. Chan-Wook here made a masterpiece, with a dark and intriguing story, complex characters, and nightmarish yet breathtaking visuals. It fulfils the potential on display in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.The film is mysterious and immersive from the start. Oh Dae-su, a drunk businessman and a bad father - who misses his daughters 4th birthday party -, is imprisoned by an anonymous figure. He remains incarcerated for 15 years, meanwhile building himself physically and plotting his revenge. The disturbing imagery and intensity of this scene set us up perfectly for what follows. Suddenly, after 15 years, he is released, and from then on this becomes a film full of twists. Oh Dae-su, a man sexually deprived and tortured by fetishised female figures on the TV, meets the young and beautiful Mi-do, and they start a romantic and intimate relationship. He then discovers that an old schoolmate, Lee Woo-jin, has been behind his imprisonment all along, exacting his own revenge. Oh Dae-su medalled in Woo-jin's incestuous relationship with his sister, the revealing of which led to her suicide. We then receive one of the most shocking plot twists ever. Mi-do, who we see having intense and passionate sex with Oh Dae-su, is really his daughter. Woo-jin has manipulated their lives all along, a parallel of the media Oh Dae-su was manipulated by during his imprisonment. Woo-jin gets his revenge, which is enhanced by the grovelling Dae-su chopping out his tongue in a symbolic gesture whilst begging Woo-jin to keep Mi-do in the dark. This plot-twist, though arguably perverse and contrived, is treated with such delicacy and subtlety. In Star Wars, Darth Vader is obviously Luke's father, but here we have no idea which way this film is going, and when we find out it is gut-wrenching. Chan-Wook's poetic and lyrical style hypnotises us and whisks us along, disarming our critical faculties. It is a genius and unpredictable twist, playing on our support for Dae-su's and Mi-do's partnership. It can only really work because of Chan-Wook's success in developing fully fleshed-out, complicated, and likeable characters, enhanced by their strong performances. It's still exquisitely shot, but there is much more than just style to this film. Where Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance fails is in its attempts to make us care about the story, but Oldboy succeeds with aplomb. Our acceptance to dive in, and go on a dizzying ride with Oh Dae-su, is essential.Though for some too emotionally manipulative, overly gory, and shock value oriented, if you are able to let yourself become absorbed in this film then it is incredibly rewarding. Chan-Wook's mature handling of the plot means that we are never alienated by the subversive plot and its sickening twists. It proves that Chan-Wook can make narratively sound cinema, without having to compromise his bold aestheticism. If you don't mind cinema with sex, blood, and taboo subject matter, then this unusual slice of brilliance is a must-see. It represents the height of Chan-Wook's artistry and is the pinnacle of quality in this trilogy. Despite Hollywood's best efforts, a film this unique could never be reproduced.
(us) wrote: Wah-wah-wah. Caught it on TV, and though it was interesting enough to keep me from flipping channels, that's not saying much since there was literally nothing else on. The odd moment was actually funny (Eve screaming into the phone about party details, while exhausted in a hospital hallway, for example) and the odd moment even made me feel slightly emotional (the event before the Thanksgiving at the end of the movie). It was very difficult to feel anything for Diane Keaton's ultra selfish and annoying character, even at the end when she'd shown remorse and what not. I simply didn't care what happened to any of them, really. Mostly, however, I'm not surprised that I've never heard of this movie. The girls' changing hairstyles was probably the most interesting part of the movie.