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Oldboy (올드보이) is a 2003 South Korean movie directed by Park Chan-wook based on a Japanese manga of the same name. The film is a story of revenge and utilizes many elements of film noir to examine the nature of sin and morality. more...

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The bare outlines of the plot are reminiscent of The Count of Monte Cristo (the director himself makes the homage explicit at one point), but the movie diverges freely from its source.

The film won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and had won high praises from director Quentin Tarantino. It is currently being remade in the United States by director Justin Lin, best known for the teen crime drama Better Luck Tomorrow.

Tagline: 15 years forced in a cell, only 5 days given to seek revenge.


The film begins in the year 1988. Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), is a Korean everyman with a wife and daughter. At the start of the film he has been picked up by police for being drunk and disorderly, and has to be bailed out by his friend. While his friend is in a phonebooth on the phone with Dae-su's daughter, Dae-su is kidnapped by persons unknown.

Dae-su is then seen in a private prison that resembles a shabby hotel room. He has been kept there for two months with no word of who is holding him there or why. He is gassed into unconsciousness when he becomes violent or suicidal (or when they need to cut his hair or maintain the suite). His only contact with the outside world is through the television, from which he learns one day that his wife has been murdered and his daughter has vanished (and that he is himself a prime suspect). As months go by, Dae-su slides into near-madness.

Attempting to get a grip on his sanity, Dae-su fills several notebooks with an autobiography-cum-prison diary, but is unable to figure out who would hate him so profoundly as to imprison him like this. He forces himself to train, punching at the walls of his prison until thick calluses form on his knuckles. When one of his deliveries of fried dumplings turns out to have an extra metal chopstick, he conceals it and uses it to slowly dig a hole into one of the walls. Over the next fifteen years, he works out, follows current events on TV, and loosens enough bricks to glimpse the outside world once again.

Just as abruptly as he was captured, Dae-su is set free—with a new suit of clothes, a wallet full of money, a cellphone, and his prison diaries. His fifteen years of "imaginary training" have paid off: when a gang of thugs attack him, he fends them off with only his fists. Then he meets Mi-do (Kang Hye-jeong), a girl who works in a sushi bar; she takes pity on Dae-su and takes him in.

Dae-su meets Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae), a man who claims to be the one who imprisoned him. He offers to play a game with Dae-su: Find out why all this happened to him in the next five days. If he fails, Mi-do will die. If he succeeds, Woo-jin will kill himself.


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