Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
Watched this the other day with a friend and felt like sitting down and explaining why I enjoyed it so much.
It can be seen as a poetic finale to Park's revenge trilogy. (previously I had only seen Oldboy) The film fuses the low-key style of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance with the jet-black humor of Oldboy while adding moments of sentiment and poignancy. This film isn't nearly as violent as the others and it doesn't need to be, although a lot of the mayhem takes place off screen.
Yeong-ae Lee delivers an magnificent performance as the troubled protagonist Geum-ja the ex-convict who is seeking equal amounts redemption and blood curdling revenge. I felt the supporting actors were universally fit for their role, it was Lee's performance that showcased the heart of the film.
The film itself is difficult to describe in words without revealing many pivotal plot points, since the most memorable scenes come out at revelatory moments in the story. Suffice to say that the climax blends tragedy and hilarity with a degree of success that few directors could hope to match.
The depth of feeling in the second half of the film is staggering and comes in stark contrast to the startling apathy of the first half. The masterful cinematography is something I've expected but his ability to compose the most evocative of tableaux never ceased to amaze me, with the final shot of the film being the catalyst.
This film shocks without ever descending into gratuity, while frequently forcing a guilty laugh with blacker than shadows humour. This film is (just like the other two) gorgeously made, with so many frames to showcase the brilliant film design. the use of colour and lighting is inspirational in some parts, truly effecting me as a viewer. The characters are also fleshed out enough that we (the viewers) get to know them, but not enough to know them completely. The past is hidden for some of these characters and in some ways proves itself as a thematic point in the film.
This film is truly about redemption and isn't afraid to masquerade it's brilliant showstopping movie drama, to the point to where maybe we even come to learn something about ourselves. This films entirely encases a fitting end to the three film exploration into hate, remorse and revenge.
Highly recommend to anyone reading.