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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance(복수는 나의 것)

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Korea

2002

Rated R • 2h 9m

Director Park Chan-wook

Starring Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Bae Doo-na, Im Ji-eun

Genre Action, Drama, Thriller

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Ryu needs money for his sister’s kidney transplant. He and his extremist girlfriend hatch a plan to kidnap his former boss’s daughter, but things go horribly wrong. Two revenge plots play out alongside each other in the first installment of what critics call “the Vengeance trilogy.”

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Kelsey Thomas Profile picture for Kelsey Thomas

Well-made and engrossing but above all, stressful. I think I had my hand over my mouth for most of it. Park doesn’t coddle the viewer, instead leaving some things unsaid and others just unclear. Still, if you’re looking for a film that makes you feel something, this is the one — with the caveat that you probably won’t like what you feel.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

10

L.A. Weekly by

Slowly degenerates into a gory revenge thriller that is never thrilling, but is often boring and frequently repulsive.
75

Premiere by Aaron Hillis

Perhaps with an open and willing mind, you'll also see the vast difference between this wily consciousness experiment and, say, Rob Zombie's new box of schlocks.
88

New York Daily News by Jami Bernard

You can't look away, not only because the carnage is so masterfully photographed, but because the director sucks you into his bleak, poetic, even sensible vision of cosmic brutality. Not for the faint-hearted!
60

Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

When it comes to serving up diabolical horror with bold, sophisticated glee, Park, best known for "Oldboy," is right up there with Dario Argento, Guillermo del Toro and Takashi Miike.
80

TV Guide Magazine by Maitland McDonagh

The only constant in Park's brilliantly cruel world is this: No matter how badly things seem to be going, there's a twist of fate lurking around the next curve that will make them worse.
50

The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

There is so much talent on display in Park Chanwook's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, it is a drag that the film never rises to the level of its director's obvious ability.
70

The A.V. Club by Tasha Robinson

It's a difficult balancing act, but Park crafts his layers carefully and masterfully. He's the kind of filmmaker who can meaningfully craft the gory details of an eye-gouging without ever forgetting the message that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

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