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Sympathy for Lady Vengeance(친절한 금자씨)

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Korea · 2005
Rated R · 1h 55m
Director Park Chan-wook
Starring Lee Young-ae, Choi Min-sik, Kwon Yea-young, Kim Shi-hoo
Genre Drama, Thriller

After a 13-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a 6-year-old boy, beautiful Lee Guem-ja starts seeking revenge on the man that was really responsible for the boy's death. She enlists the help of former inmates and reunites with her daughter as she sets out on a path to right wrongs.

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What are people saying?

Meagen Tajalle Profile picture for Meagen Tajalle

This stylistic meditation on revenge and forgiveness is an entertaining and fascinating counterpart to thematically-similar American fare like "Kill Bill". Park chan-Wook's approach gives the audience much more autonomy of thought and feeling in its at-times nontraditional cinematography. This film also leaves more room for the audience to make up their own mind about questions it poses, about whether one can truly begin anew. This viewing experience feels more active compared to Tarantino's maximization of coverage, which results in the image demanding all of the audience's attention rather than the theme or subject matter.

What are critics saying?


Variety by Derek Elley

A wildly inventive, highly cinematic director's showcase that looks likely, at least in the West, to enthuse fans of Asian -- especially Korean -- genre movies more than general auds.


The Hollywood Reporter by Frank Scheck

Mixes comedy and melodrama to a typically baroque degree. Like his "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," the film displays an audacious visual and narrative style, often sacrificing credibility and coherence along the way. But there is no denying its originality.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

Lady Vengeance contains violence (some extreme), but it is not an action film. It is deliberately paced, allowing the audience to have time to reflect upon what's happening. And the comedy is of the gallows variety.


New York Daily News by Jami Bernard

Less bloody than its predecessors, Lady Vengeance wraps up with a killer (literally) finale that calls into question the killer instinct. It's one of the reasons Park's brutal films are so emotionally rewarding.


TV Guide Magazine by Maitland McDonagh

It concludes Park's trilogy on a dual note of circular tragedy and fragile hope, while working equally well as an introduction to his universe of retribution and repentance or as a stand-alone thriller with a darkly feminist twist.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

As much as Lady Vengeance spins around its implacable protagonist like a rabid dog on a rope, the film becomes in its last, galling act an unlikely but stunning ensemble piece.


The A.V. Club by Tasha Robinson

It takes patience and industry to make sense of the first half, intestinal fortitude to deal with the second, and a little flexibility to make the transition from one to the other. But the whole process adds up to a fairly impressive two-stage thrill ride, like rafting through choppy waters, then plummeting over a waterfall into a dark and deadly pit.


New York Post by V.A. Musetto

If you've seen either of the first two flicks in this outrageous series - "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Mister Vengeance" - you know what's coming. Novices should prepare for mind-bending bloodshed and violence.

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