Quick-Thoughts: Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance (2005)

Damn, that was easily the cutest pair of cameos I’ve ever seen. 

Honestly? Surprisingly meh. I dig a lot of ideas going on here — the process of revenge is prone to counteract the revenge of another but seen in a rather “motherly” circumstance, sadism as the human rationale’s closest yet overtly hopeful solution to justice for monsters and themselves, Lee Geum-ja’s Lady Vengeance living forever in the existential purgatory of being entirely defined by a single goal that can’t possibly make up for the latter parts once accomplished — but it never felt as if they came forth into any interesting conclusions like the trilogy’s predecessors, nor do they really feel that expanded on even in consideration of how expositional the film is. 

The entire movie, with all of Park Chan-wook’s usual extroverted stylizations and choppy chronology, felt like it was banking on letting the insanity of its constantly (and occasionally too constantly to the point of plausible doubt) moving plot and loudly worded out twists to just naturally create the pathos for the audience, given how dreadfully tragic they usually were. Especially when we get to that ending, where Chan-wook seems to be desperately trying to drench every last drop of emotion out of us by showing an in-detail and intentionally silent aftermath, felt so blatantly contrived in how prolonged it was that it kind of left me off with a bad taste in my mouth. 

I was really engaged with the psychologically complex character of Lee Geum-ja, but I felt as if the story surrounding her should’ve been more devoted to expressing what the significance of those many stages she suffered through were in light of this construct of “revenge” it deals with that really does feel left thin at this point after having already two installments which explored it. That second half, as potential-filled as it was in its own right from it’s construct of group-oriented retribution, felt as if it was meandering away from a leading female character’s exclusive themes that could’ve made for a more focused and fresh inclusion to the trilogy.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just dumb and subconsciously attributed a majority of what I saw in Lady Vengeance as just messier retreads of Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2004). Either way, I still really hate having to explain why I don’t like a movie! 

Verdict: C+

Park Chan-wook Ranked

“Lady Vengeance” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Published by

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s