Lady Vengeance, also known as Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, is the third and final film of the infamous “Vengeance Trilogy” by Park Chan-wook. The trilogy is thematically connected as a box set rather than a traditional series of story sequels. This film comes after Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2003) — which garnered Park international acclaim as a Korean directory and revamped the revenge-film cult following as a masterpiece film. All three films are crime-drama-thrillers with their own renditions of dark comedy and harsh truths. Revenge is the centerfold theme throughout the trilogy, with plays on violence and redemption.
I have had the pleasure of watching Lady Vengeance twice on Blu-ray; once as the regular version and once as the “fade to black & white” version. The change of environmental colours in conjunction with the gradual change from colour to black & white create an entirely new and rewarding experience. This elegant and ongoing change in visuals add another dimension to the story and leave your eyes with a treat. Storytelling also takes places through dream sequences, monologues, flashbacks and narration. If I had to describe the film, as a whole, in one word it would simply be ‘depth’. Depth from the sometimes dramatic and sometimes quirky score; the sharp images and overall crisp cinematography; the robust storyline and climatic ‘conclusions’; and lastly the vengeful heroine who takes the viewer on a deep journey through conviction and salvation.
The first half of the movie is seemingly disjointed but later proves to be methodical for the main character and direction of the story as a whole. The second half of the movie is where a sharp change in tone is noticed, from dark comedy to revengeful violence. Somehow, this shift from light-hearted to dauntless works and the film is quite beautiful throughout. It’s nowhere as near twisted and diabolical as Oldboy, but is emotionally thrilling in it’s own right. It’s thematic, symbolic and very stylish. Even though the plot set-up was long and drawn out, and some hype deflated along the way, the end-product is an enthralling dive into vengeance. Vengeance stripped down to it’s core and put back together again.
Directed by: Park Chan-Wook
aparoo’s words: drama, thriller, crime, murder, vengeance, revenge, redemption, courage, evil
aparoo says 5/5
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