Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

Release Date: August 19, 2005
Limited release

I see he's played knifey-spooney before. He lost.

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47/85 Kim Hollis A gory revenge film with some truly solid performances. I'm becoming a Chan-wook Park fan.

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A precursor to Oldboy and the first in Park Chan-Wook's venerated "Vengeance Trilogy", Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance has been receiving rave reviews in advance of its North American theatrical release. As with Oldboy, distribution is being handled by Tartan Films, which means that the movie will be heavy in the art house circuit.

The story centers on a young man named Ryu (Ha-kyun Shin), a factory worker who quit art school so that he might look after his ailing sister. Tragically, she is dying a painful, slow death due to her need for a kidney. A doctor informs Ryu that he is not a donor match, and even worse, the chances of finding one are not at all good. To try to save his sister, Ryu turns to the black market.

This plan, of course, goes terribly wrong. The woman who runs the underground ring agrees to give him a kidney in exchange for his life savings and his own kidney. However, she leaves him after taking his cash and his kidney, and with no hope for saving his sister - except one glimmer.

A kidney has become available, but Ryu no longer has the required cash to obtain it. His girlfriend, a leftist called Youngmin (Du-na Bae) tells Ryu that he should kidnap the daughter of the factory owner Park Dong-Jin (Kang-ho Song), especially in light of the fact that he has recently laid off a number of workers, including Ryu, from his business. As it happens, Ryu becomes close to the young girl, but when his sister learns what he did, she commits suicide. Even worse, as they are burying her, the four-year-old falls into the river and drowns. All of these events lead to the quest for vengeance from all of the parties who have believed themselves to be wronged. And like Oldboy, the film devolves into a modern-day Greek tragedy. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Main Cast Ha-kyun Shin, Kang-ho Song, Du-na Bae
Supporting Cast Ji-Eun Lim, Bo-bae Han, Se-dong Kim, Dae-yeon Lee
Director Chan-wook Park
Screenwriter Jae-sun Lee, Mu-yeong Lee
Distributor Tartan Films
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating R
Screen Count 3
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