I must admit... I found Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance or Boksuneun naui geot to give the movie its native title, a very strange movie to watch. I really had no idea what to expect, but for some reason the cover art gave me the impression it was going to be a thriller of some kind. Indeed, by the time I had cottoned on to the fact that this is a black comedy... the movie changed style, becoming an all out hard-hitting tale of revenge. This kind of threw me, so I decided to give the movie a second viewing... and I'm really pleased I did! I realised, second time around, just how stylish a movie this is, beautifully shot with lots of interesting camera angles and directed with a real attention to detail.
The story revolves around the rather sad character of Ryu, a deaf mute, who is desperate to find a kidney donor for his ailing sister. Ryu's kidney is incompatible and, as the hospital doctor explains, the chances of finding a match within the foreseeable future are next to zero. So he turns to the black market, where the going rate for a kidney is 10,000 Won (a S. Korean currency), which just happens to be his life savings. Suffice to say Ryu gets rooked... out of more than just his money, and he and his militant activist girlfriend come up with another idea to raise the much-needed cash. Kidnapping. For a while it all goes according to plan... and then it all goes horribly wrong.
I feel that if I expand on the plot any more I may spoil the movie for you, so I'll just say that I thoroughly enjoyed Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, and it's tale of revenge and counter-revenge. Actually, I'm not sure “enjoyed” is the right word, but I certainly appreciated the quality of the movie and, in my eyes, it has all the ingredients for reaching minor cult status; interesting, well defined characters; great cinematography; and a simple, yet horrifyingly sad story. Oh, and some painfully gruesome scenes of, occasionally gratuitous, violence - with a nice little twist at the end to remind everyone that this is indeed a thriller/black comedy. If you can get passed the slight intrusion that subtitles inevitably create, a little gem of a movie could well be revealed.
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