Movie Title: Lady Vengeance /Sympathy for Lady Vengeance / Chinjeolhan geumjassi
Director: Chan-wook Park
Date Released: July 29th, 2005 (South Korea)
Date Seen: August 24th, 2012
Language/Country of Origin: Korean/South Korea
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
I think this was my favorite of Chan-wook Park’s trilogy. I have read various opinions and it seems to be split on which one is the “best” of the three. But for me, I loved this one the most. It fit in the best with the things I like from my horror movies. I love seeing what “made” the killer(s), or the decisions that people make resulting in a crime they commit. Or what this one gave me – what normal people will do if they have the chance to avenge their childs death. I love it. The filming style was a little bit different in this one – sometimes, for me, it was hard to tell if we were in past or present, who was talking, etc. It did however explain nearly everything as the movie went along. The other two movies it seemed to be like a giant domino effect that you saw all the pieces once the movie was over. This one you were always seeing Geum-ja Lee’s mission, with occasional flashbacks to the “pieces/dominoes”. So slightly different.
This film is MUCH less violent and hard to watch (for gross-factor) than the other two, I think – and yet still manages to scare the crap out of you and be awesome at the same time. I highly recommend it – but watch the other two as well. Note that you don’t have to watch them in order necessarily. The trilogy is more like they’re in the same universe, rather than building on the same characters in each film. So you can just pick up one and watch it and be fine.
Part 2 – In-Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
There is an AMAZING synopsis of this movie, here. I will though comment on what I loved about this movie.
I loved seeing the different women in prison, what they went in for, and what they came out as. I also loved watching Geum-ja help out those in need. Was it because she could see easy potential in having them owe her later? Or was she really actually sweet for that small amount of time? We’ll never really be sure, but probably that first one. She was just so evil and so sweet it was awesome. She really was a two-faced bitch. The nice girl but witch at the same time. Loved it. And loved all the scenes of Geum-ja going to then visit the women and get what she needed from them – and later turning it all into the perfect weapon.
My other favorite scene/series was with the parents. First watching their various reactions at seeing their children die on the video camera – how they react to their child, other children, the outrage, etc. Then seeing the discussion about what to do with Mr. Baek. Should we kill him/turn him in? Hmmm… great moral debate. Then there’s the debate about how to kill him and how they’re going to do it. The whole sequence was just genius – and honest. There was so much doubt in the parents minds but once they got in that room you couldn’t stop them from their turn at Mr. Baek. It was a great and probably my favorite sequence out of the entire trilogy.
Fabulous. My favorite. Great acting, filmography, directing, plot, etc. I just love this one. A lot. Even outside of the other two films it is great completely on its own.