The final part of Chan-wook Park’s vengeance trilogy sees an angelic looking young woman imprisoned for the kidnap and murder of a young child. Upon her release from prison 13 years later, her plan for vengeance on the real killer is set in motion.
The core of the film is the duality of Yeong-ae Lee’s role; her angelic appearance belying her ruthless and single-minded pursuit of her goal and her quest for vengeance tempered by her feelings guilt about her part in the boy’s death. Lady Vengeance is not quite as bleak as Oldboy and does not have its complex relationships and twists and turns in plot. The characters find some form of redemption by its end, although the psychology of revenge is examined; do two wrongs make a right? Min-sik Choi’s child killer is completely without redeeming qualities, but it is still uncomfortable seeing his suffering at the hands of the people he has wronged even though they are acting on the part of justice rather than cruelty. Visually, this film is stunning. Chan-wook Park’s eye for composition is wonderful and combined with a beautiful use of colour, location, costume and set design it truly is breathtaking to look at; even the title sequence and end credits are gorgeously designed.
Add to this a lovely baroque soundtrack and the product is something akin to an cinematic work of art.