Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002)

sympathy_for_mr_vengeance

A deaf-mute tries to sell a kidney on the black market to pay for a life saving operation for his sister, but when he wakes up left for dead minus both the money and his kidney he hatches a scheme to kidnap his ex-boss’ daughter for the ransom.

The first chapter in Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance Trilogy reminded me very much of a Tikeshi Kitano film; beautifully shot but very understated with moments of surreal humour, brief outbursts of grim violence and a typically nihilistic ending. He attempts to show the motivations and context of the actions of all involved and so the brutal acts of vengeance perpetrated by the characters who have become increasingly black-hearted through grief and loss garner little sympathy from the viewer. I also found the plot a little too far-fetched to swallow and so I felt it was easily the weakest of the three, but that is hardly the most damning of criticisms as the others are amongst the best films I’ve ever seen.

A technically excellent film that won’t be for those with a weak stomach, but a memorably visceral experience for those able to stay the course.

7/10

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