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South Korea 2005
Directed by
Park Chan-wook
111 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance

The concluding instalment of Park Chan-wook's "Revenge Trilogy" does not have the remarkable verve and focussed dynamism of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance or 2003's Oldboy but from its delicate opening titles it offers many pleasures (not least of which is the cinematography by Jeong Jeong-hun) probably only disappointing in comparison to the earlier films.

This time the central character is Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae), who just been released from prison where she has wrongly spent 13 years for murdering a child. Using a number of flashbacks, the film is concerned with her elaborate plan to exact retribution on the real killer who put her there. With an elaborate narrative which, particularly for the Western viewer, is not easy to follow, and perhaps because the main character is more cerebral than the protagonists of the earlier films, Lady Vengeance does not draw the viewer in the way those films did, Geum-ja's frenzy when she finally captures Mr. Baek (Choi Min-Sik, who was so outstanding in Oldboy and is very good here), for instance, seeming forced whilst the entire final section of the film in which she brings together the families of his victims even more so, loading the viewer with an excess of information when a simpler more intense resolution would seem to have been appropriate. 

 

 

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