Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

2002

Action / Drama / Thriller

19
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 60000

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 14, 2020 at 05:50 PM

Director

Cast

Doona Bae as Yeong-mi Cha
Chan-wook Park as Bus Passenger
Kang-ho Song as Dong-jin Park
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.09 GB
1280*548
Korean 2.0
R
23.976 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S 4 / 26
2.23 GB
1904*816
Korean 5.1
R
23.976 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S 3 / 42

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CuriosityKilledShawn 8 / 10

Grips you like a vice. Hits you like a ton of bricks.

Before you watch this film, just be aware that you're not going to walk away from it with a big smile on your face. More like you'll want to slit your wrists. To say that Mr. Vengeance is a powerful, gut-wrenching nightmare is like saying that DaVinci merely dabbled in art.

The plot is so simple yet so complex. The direction is so elegant yet so hard-hitting. The simplistic nature of the story makes the descent into hell so shocking and captivating. You don't realize there is no going back until it's far, FAR too late.

Ryu is a deaf/mute who works in the loudest factory in the world, doing a really depressing job. His sister needs a kidney transplant, but they don't have the money to pay for it. He cannot give her one of his own because their blood types do not match. Ryu decides to go to black market organ traders to trade one of his own for one that matches his sister. Waking up naked and kidney-less in an abandoned building he now needs to raise money for his own kidney.

Ryu is now fired from his job by President Park, who is downsizing the company. His anarchist girlfriend Yeong-mi convinces him to kidnap Park's daughter and hold her to ransom. From then on, things get very, very, VERY heavy and the idea of who exactly Mr. Vengeance is is blurred and sympathy is felt for almost everyone. Revenge comes at a high price and seemingly never ends. Not that I am saying forgiving and forgetting is the way. But this movie will make you think twice about getting your own back.

The violence is spontaneous and extremely graphic without ever feeling exploitational. Sometimes it has a darkly comic feel to it, the rest of the time it's goddamn hardcore. You'll wince a great deal during this movie, that's for damn sure.

Park Chan-wook directs with such beautifully composed images that are far from the the garish MTV-style action/thriller movies produced in Hollywood these days. I don't want to sound like some sort of snob who proclaims all foreign films to be great and all Hollywood to be crap but it's not very often that Hollywood makes a film like this unless it's a remake. Written in a mere 20 hours in a single massive, creative outburst, this movie seems to have genius laced through every minute of it's running time.

Not a date movie, not a whogivesadamn pig-out movie. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a film you will be sucked right into and you'll be far from happy when you emerge at the end. But what a horrific ride!

Reviewed by stage_3_dan 9 / 10

A Sensible Review

I've been reading over user comments on Sympathy, and I'm pretty shocked. What gore- fest were you people watching? I remember only a couple of really "gory" moments, but there was nothing that was too extreme (save for Ryu's murderous assault towards the end, and the very very brief torture scene). If you have weak stomachs, don't watch movies with any bit of gore in them. You're the wrong kind of people to be reviewing this kind of film. As a critic you should be able to put personal biases aside and give a fair and balanced review of the movie in question, but you've let a little bit of violence offend you. And that's not a bad thing, it's just that letting biases get in the way can really ruin a review.

Violence in cinema isn't a terrible thing. When there's blood on the screen and people write off the film as tripe automatically, it bothers me to no end. It's blood. So what? When the movie turns into something that only progresses to get to another gory, violent scene, that's a problem, and if you felt that way about Sympathy I feel for you and I apologize. That said, I definitely did not see it as being something that sought to continue just to display more brutality. The scenes in question were meant to create tension and drama, and in some ways show progression of character. They were not meant to be there simply because blood = good, and again, I do feel badly for anybody who took it that way, because that really isn't any fun.

What was fun, for me at least, was the whole of this film. I tend to be wary whenever "different abled" people are cast in lead roles in films, although you'll never hear me use that term in a serious tone. I must admit, having the lead be deaf made me nervous, as I've seen some pretty bad films and television programs featuring deaf characters. In my junior year in high school, I learned ASL, and I furthered the experience for years beyond that. Whenever I see any character, be they deaf, blind, mute, crippled, etc, portrayed in any film, I pray that the filmmakers get it right and not make a stereotype and a mockery of the character.

In the case of Sympathy, Ryu was excellent. His signing, though not the American Sign Language that I'm familiar with (it's Korea, for crying out loud), was spot-on, from the way he physically articulated the signs, to his facial expressions per sign. Shin Ha-Kyun plays Ryu perfectly, in fact he's so good that I am tempted to say that he's probably deaf himself. The way that Chan-wook Park makes use of his protagonist's deafness also is excellent-- his cuts, from Ryu signing to a black screen with translations of the signs, are really great. The, "person-is-speaking-but-you-here-nothing" shots are also wonderful, as is the shot of Ryu in the factory wearing nothing to protect his ears while everyone else is. It's these little things that help create the atmosphere, and to build on Ryu. Wonderful stuff.

Chan-wook Park also tends to get very inventive with the camera in other ways as well, so much so that I think he's one of the most unique directors around today. I want to see more of his technique-- thus, I am looking forward to seeing Oldboy whenever I have the chance to. He doesn't, however, go too crazy with things, which I appreciate, since a lot of directors try to be inventive and ultimately give you annoying camera work that seems more like that of an amateur than that of an auteur.

The story follows a deaf man (Ryu), who gives all of his saved money to thugs in order to get a kidney transplant for his sister (he was going to use it to just have a legal transfer done, but nobody matches his sister's blood type). He wakes up to find himself down a kidney, down 10,000 won, and down all of his clothing, and he later finds out that the hospital has found a matching donor, much to his chagrin. With no other recourse (as they see it), Ryu and his girlfriend kidnap the daughter of Dong-jin Park and hold her for ransom. With cycles of vengeance firmly implanted in the story, Chan-wook gives us a riveting narrative as Dong-jin Park searches desperately for the people who took his child. In the end, does everyone get their revenge?

Chan-wook would have you believe so, but he's more interested in generating sympathy for each character, as everyone is a victim in their own way, even the criminals (hence the title Sympathy For Mr.Vengeance). Many people become their own Mr.Vengeance, whether it is Ryu kidnapping Dong-jin Park's daughter for money as well as for retribution (Dong-jin fires Ryu from his job early in the film, after all), or the aching father hunting down the kidnappers one by one. It's one of the the few films I've seen do this, and it's something that I appreciate greatly. Not all criminals are motivated by an uncompromising hatred lurking within them-- so what does motivate them? You'll see.

If you're looking for something creative and fresh, and you don't mind a few graphic scenes here and there, then I would recommend this. ********* (out of ten)

Reviewed by simon_booth 9 / 10

Well crafted and challenging

Vengeance is one of humanity's more lamentable instincts, and one we'll have to overcome as a species one day. When one acts out of vengeance one seeks only to hurt, and when people start hurting each other because they're hurt themselves, everybody ends up hurting and nobody really gains anything.

I think that's the main message Park Chan-Wook wants us to take away from SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, though the movie is complex and oblique and doubtless open to many interpretations. It is a challenging movie in many ways - the story is never spelled out clearly, leaving the viewer to deduce many key events and motivations. Dialogue is sparse, and this is not solely attributable to the fact that the main character is deaf and dumb. The movie also challenges - almost terrorises - with its bleakness and occasional scenes of quite disturbing violence and gore.

SFMV is an ambitious project, and one that doesn't fit into any established cinematic mould. The story, characters, themes and aesthetics are all very unusual and creative. I can't think of any other film that's quite like it, though at times I likened the experience to that of watching certain Takashi Miike movies. Actually, Kim Ki-Duk's movies are probably the closest point of reference, though Park Chan-Wook's film is smarter.

SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE is not a movie I'd choose for a movie night with friends, or one that I'd lend or recommend to most of the people I know. Perhaps I'm unfair in my assessment of my friends, but I can't think of many that would enjoy it. Actually I'm surprised that the film is held in such wide regard, as its not a conventional film or an easy film, and is far more art than entertainment. In my experience that narrows a film's audience significantly, but I've yet to hear anybody express a negative reaction to the film. I guess originality and technical virtuosity are still appreciated after all - perhaps more so by those that have gravitated to Korean cinema in recent years than in other groups, since they are most often to be found there.

With JSA and SFMV, Park Chan-Wook has definitely shown himself to be one of the brightest figures in the new wave of Korean directors. Both are very well crafted in pretty much every respect. The cast of SFMV also deserve commendation for their performances, which are all good. Song Kang-Ho steals the show with a wonderfully understated performance, though.

Recommended, but make sure you know what you're getting.

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