Wrongfully accused of child abduction and murder, the angelic-faced single mother, Lee Geum-ja, is released from prison after thirteen long years. Hell-bent on taking her sweet revenge on the man behind the hideous crime, Lee hatches an infallible plan of retribution with the help of her cellmates; however, planning is easier than doing. Now–as Lee Geum-ja struggles to make amends with the daughter she was forced to give up–at the same time, she finds herself torn between her insatiable thirst for vengeance and the desperate need for atonement. Can she have both?

Also Known As: My Lady Vengeance Hong, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Señora venganza, Lady Vingança, A bosszú asszonya, Qin-joe-han gump-ja-she North, Simpatía por la mujer venganza, Shinsetsu-na Kumuja-san, Сочувствие госпоже Месть, Simpatije za gospođicu Osvetu, Lady Vengeance, Shed Tears for Lady Vengeance, Chinjeolhan geumjassi, Pani zemsta, Η εκδίκηση μιας κυρίας, I ekdikisi mias kyrias, Simpatija za gdu. Osvetnicu, Nebohá paní Pomsta Czech, İntikam Meleği, Kind-Hearted Ms., Vingança Planeada, Sincere geum-ja Hong, Lady Vendetta, Dulcea ei razbunare, Simpatija za gđu Osvetu

Leave a Reply

No Comments

  • theseus-rogares
    theseus rogares

    Last year at Cannes, Korean director Park Chan-wook’s “Old Boy”, the second of his “revenge trilogy”, won the Grand Prix (won this year by “Broken Flowers”). The third and last, “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance”, didn’t make it in time to Cannes this year and won only some minor awards at Venice, despite the hype. It was also shown in the non-competitive festivals of Toronto, New York and London.I have not seen the first one of this “revenge trilogy” but compared with “Old Boy” SFLV is a weak conclusion. Although some found “Old Boy” unpalatable, few disagreed on its provoking originality. Its multi-layer plot is particularly clever. SFLV, despite all the contrivances to make it look complicated, is just a simple revenge story. It starts with 33-year-old Lee Geum-jee’s release after serving 14 years for murder of a kidnapped child, a crime for which she was framed (not the kidnap, but just the murder). While we see her taking a job at a cake shop and taking a room (which could have come out of a Wong Kar-wai artsy movie) to start her new life, flashbacks with showy dexterity relates how her saintly existence in prison had won her a group of loyal friends. She now seeks them out to help her execute the revenge that she has been meticulously planning all these years. Then the revenge itself.”Old Boy” was meticulously shot, oozing originality in scenes ranging from devastatingly violent to tantalisingly erotic. SFLV seems to have run out of original ideas, struggling in the losing battle of trying to shock and impress. While I won’t go so far as to suggest plagiarism, I do get a feeling of deji vu. Seduction of an adolescent by an older woman we have seen only too often. Neither is copulation on a table used for dining a novelty. The torture scene looks uncannily like “Reservoir dog”, and you recognise the faint shadow of “Murder on the orient express” (although the object there is slightly different, i.e. dead).To be fair, there are things to be said in SFLV’s favour. The art direction surrounding the central figure that is female gives this movie an air of elegance not found in “Old Boy”. The editing and montages are a bit flashy but do make the movie more interesting to watch. The music is effective in setting the pace. The black humour in the revenge scene scales the height of absurdity by being at the same time both hilarious and chilling.Choi Min-sik, who was so impressive in “Old Boy”, is only in a supporting role in this movie, which is all Lee Young-ae’s show. The heroin Lee Geum-jee is somewhat enigmatic. In “Old Boy”, the central character’s “wrong-doing” is quite minor, only in his indulgence in tale telling, which unfortunately led to grave consequences. Lee Geum-jee, an accomplice to the kidnap, is however far from being blameless. It is never conclusive what she is avenging: having the best part of her life taken away form her, her daughter kept out of her reach or the murders of the little kidnap victims. Nor is it made clear whether her angelic behaviour in prison reflects a true goodness in her or is purely manipulative towards practical ends. Most agree that regardless of various interpretations, there is in her a deep longing for absolution, which is found only in the final reconciliation with her daughter.Lee Yeong-ae’s portrayal of Lee Geum-jee has generally been well received, although not well enough to win for her an award at Venice. I find myself a bit handicapped when it comes to assessing her performance. Early in the year, for three months, I watched her for five days every week as the all-goodness heroine in “Dae Jang-geum” (“A jewel in the palace”, a Korean TV drama series that became immensely popular world-wide) making it hard for me now to see her on screen as anybody else. Lee’s other varied roles include a no-nonsense investigator in JSA (2000) and a changeable lover in “One fine day in spring” (2001). The very complex character in SFLV is Lee’s most challenging role to-date and her performance is at least adequate, nay, more than adequate, even if not superlative.

  • g-szilagyi-ilona
    g szilagyi ilona

    Isn’t it bit hard to write a review for the films that you really like or even admire a lot? That’s how I felt right now after having seen Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. It’s not easy for me to write this review without blabbing like fan boy raving over the film that they really enjoy a lot but I’ll give it a shot. So let me start out this review with this: How do you make angel very angry? Better yet, how do you make an angel so full of rage that she would go any length to execute old school method revenge on you? Having seen JSA (Joint Security Area), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Oldboy, which are from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, I was very excited as hell about seeing Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, since it is third one in revenge trilogy after Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy. In fact, I was agonizing in pain when I found out that Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was released last summer in South Korea. I kid you not. Imagine if Santa Claus had your favorite toy but you had to haul your ass all the way over to North Pole, would you do it? I would, if I had time and money.I believe that Sympathy for Lady Vengeance has solidified Park Chan-wook as world class filmmaker and he will continue to evolve. I think it’s great that he doesn’t fall back on his own formula to create the films and just continuing to master his craft, which is astonishing. I honestly think he is the one to watch because I can smell more masterpieces from him in future and I’ll be eagerly to wait for one, even if he took his sweet time to make it. You can’t just rush a masterpiece. You cannot. I’m glad that Chan-wook managed to get carte blanche after success of JSA so he is able to make whatever he want to on his own terms. Now, let’s move on to my personal feelings about Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Most trilogies usually end on such disappointed conclusion but not Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. It ends the trilogy with bang and it doesn’t need to apologize for that. Unlike the predecessors, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance has woman as main character, which provided different spin revenge tale. It is incredibly refreshing to see revenge film that contained female as protagonist, although we have Kill Bill saga.Let me make a comment that I never made before in my previous reviews. I think every frame in SFLV is like painting. There’s a wonderful scene where Geum-ja revealed her feelings in empty building. It’s like Chan-wook is using celluloid for him to brush that masterpiece paint to paste on. It’s great stuff and at some times, I felt like I was in air because of great cinematography. It contained one of the awesome cinematography I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t forced or stilt at all like many Hollywood films tend to but it felt very natural and smooth whole time so the viewers doesn’t feel very overwhelmed. It’s not easy to make revenge film so beautiful yet very arty but Chan-wook has succeed with this film and for that, he is an auteur because he know no boundaries when it come to cinema. It’s fantastic stuff that would make pretentious film buff bawling out like crybaby.The film open with Geum-ja released from prison and whole story is told in flashbacks while she is getting prepared for revenge. I thought it was very ingenious because I never felt like I was lost like other Hollywood films that rely on flashbacks as gimmicks. We see that Geum-ja has developed friendships with several cell mates that soon would benefit her when she is being release from prison after 13 years later. The flashbacks structure on each cell mate that Geum-ja has form friendship so it’s very interesting to see how things have process yet it doesn’t feel very flashy or cheap gimmick. It’s brilliant stuff. It’s astonishing to see Geum-ja managed to win over many people with her kindness and fantastic personality. God knows I’d be very intrigued by her a lot.If you are familiar with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy then you would be surprised at number of actors from those films have made an appearance in SFLV. I was very shock to see at some of the actors and I go like isn’t he from this and that, which is quite amusing.I may toss masterpiece here and this and that but this is absolutely masterpiece in many levels. The actors are top of their game, set design is too sweet, direction is solid, and the cinematography is brilliant. What I like the most about this film is that we don’t see violent scenes at all because the camera pans away when that took place so we have to use our imagination, like the ear scene in Reservoir Dogs. One look for gore or violent sequences in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy would be so disappointed with this film but I think it’s better if you go see this film with no knowledge and low expectations and maybe it will be pleasant surprise. But it’s hard to keep low expectations because it’s Park Chan-wook, an auteur whose has to be part of group of elite directors by end of 21st Century.What I like the most about this film is use of dark humors, which balances the film very well and I find myself laughing at scenes that may not be quite amusing to other. Maybe I have strange sense of humor? It’s great how Chan-wook managed to slide dark humors in this film because it comes up at most unexpected moment, which really works. Top class stuff here.But in all of my honest opinion, it’s really amazing film in its own rights.

  • misra-eraslan-akcay
    misra eraslan akcay

    An entirely unexpected delight, Chan-Wook Park’s ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’ is a very strange film indeed. Part caper movie, part redemption story, part thriller, it switches from one visual style and filmic genre to another on the head of a pin. The comedy – and there is a surprising amount of comedy given the deeply disturbing tale at the heart of the script – is black as pitch, and what violence occurs sparing but brutal in the extreme.Yeoung-ae Lee gives a stunning performance as our titular heroine, oozing enigma from every subtle pore. The supporting turns are variable in quality, but generally strong – every one of them pretty much defined by their contact with our heroine or the consequences of her vengeful agenda.In contrast with most filmic tales of revenge it also – very successfully – addresses the emotional consequence of revenge. This sudden switch of emphasis from a traditional eye-for-an-eye story of revenge to a cathartic emotional release addressing issues of moral culpability and redemption is what stops this being just another slick, stylish quirky action movie, and makes it something quite wonderful instead.

  • vicente-maestre-herrera
    vicente maestre herrera

    An excellent film, well shot, beautifully lit and very well acted.I don’t remember, but I think this is the first Korean film that I have ever seen. It took me a little while to get into it as I was trying to work out what the language was that was being spoken, I should looked here first, but after 15 minutes I clicked and rewound and started again.Also a very good sound track, probably worth while buying on CD.I have looked at many of the other comments and agree with most of them about this outstanding film. I will watch again and look out for the Black and White version, also will now have to source the others of the trilogy and watch them.

  • amphithea-katsoula
    amphithea katsoula

    I was really looking forward to getting this film and the director’s preceding film, Oldboy. So I got them. And I’ve tried to watch this aimless self-indulgent flick 4 times, no kidding, and just can’t get past the first hour. I’m no stranger to Korean films, either–they’re some of my personal favorites–but this one just didn’t make sense to me. I don’t know, perhaps I’m losing it and can’t follow the plots anymore or perhaps I had a little too much red wine while I was viewing, but it came off as completely disjointed and senseless. I actually watched Oldboy first and Lady Vengeance was probably more watchable because Yeong-ae Lee is a great actress, able to somehow pull off a very plain look and ten seconds later look as if she’s the sex goddess of the universe. But that’s about the extent of the difference in the two films. I couldn’t get through all of Oldboy, either.

  • bradley-lewis
    bradley lewis

    I was hesitant about this, as I didn’t like OLDBOY at all. But I think this is a big step up and a much better movie more generally. Unlike the deliberately off-putting OLDBOY I found it much easier to believe in these characters, and care about their plight. Also, while the moral quandaries in OLDBOY were contrived beyond belief, here they’re much more seriously presented and mulled over. Suffers from hesitant endings (there’s two false endings before the thing actually ends), a needlessly jumbled screenplay, and, essentially, from the fact that the director doesn’t really have clear ideas on vengeance himself. A lot of the movie’s incoherence comes from the director not really knowing, I think, what he wants to say.So not a great picture. But pretty damn good, and a much more interesting examination of these themes than OLDBOY.

  • cas-houdijk
    cas houdijk

    This is nowhere near the worst movie I’ve seen, but I just was slightly put off by it. The first two films in this trilogy of revenge invoked a lot more sympathy in me than this one did. The first two seemed to take their story a bit more seriously, more so sympathy for Mr vengeance than old boy. In this one the story was a bit scattered around to a slightly frustrating point. This film kind of seemed more light hearted in a way. It wasn’t as harsh as the other two films. Then there were some scenes that I wasn’t sure of the point. Mainly a sex scene involving the real murderer and someone the main character helps in prison. I’m not sure why people are saying this is the best one. The pacing was comparable to Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, so if you didn’t like the pacing you won’t like this. This ones slightly more graphic in that there’s a guys head that gets blown off. So if you’re looking for gore look somewhere else.

  • dra-helena-barbosa
    dra helena barbosa

    “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” is a tremendous achievement and a genuine masterpiece of modern cinema. Concluding the revenge trilogy that includes “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” and “Oldboy,” this third installment, from director Chan-wook Park, is the most satisfyingly complete.I’ll avoid any details of the plot as the less you know going in, the more you’ll enjoy this film’s twisting and unpredictable path.The lovely Yeong-ae Lee is excellent as Lady Vengeance herself, Geum-ja Lee. It’s an intense role and Lee delivers a riveting and believable performance.Visually breathtaking from the opening credits right through to the end, this film demands repeat viewing. With a beautiful and haunting score, “Lady Vengeance” is a memorable and emotional ride. Uncompromising and intelligent, it is an unmissable, thought-provoking film that I can’t recommend highly enough.An unreserved 10 out of 10.

  • meinolf-wagenknecht-b-sc
    meinolf wagenknecht b sc

    This film wasn’t bad, but I found it kind of disappointing compared to Park Chan-Wook’s last two films. It seemed very unfocused, like the the filmmakers had a bunch of different ideas and decided to use them all instead of deciding on what film they were trying to make. Naturally this resulted in a pretty uneven tone. At first it seems like it’s trying too hard to be clever and funny (which it really isn’t), but then it also sometimes becomes very heavy-handed and “serious”. Throw in some haphazard awkward moments of violence that I’m not sure what kind of reaction they were supposed to provoke (really, I don’t think the amount of violence towards women in the film was justified plot-wise or even in terms of the statement the film was trying to make), and you end up with a muddled, confusing mess.Still, it’s really not as bad as it could have been, in that it doesn’t take the easy options a hyper-stylish filmmaker usually would. It is not an empty self-conscious joke like “Kill Bill”, thankfully (although at first it seems as if it might be). And it certainly can’t be called blandly conventional and audience-friendly in a David Fincher-type way (although some of the camera-work has a similar style-over-substance desperation). Instead it is just an over-ambitious confused jumble of ideas, not really serious enough to pass as an art film like “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”, and at the same time really not successful as an entertaining (yet intelligent) action-packed thrill-ride like “Oldboy” (the film is actually remarkably action-free). Plus there was far too much plot crammed in but which didn’t lead to anything. For me a heavy plot can be OK if it is engaging and well-constructed enough, but this film just seemed to use plot to make up for a lack of character development. And the writers seemed to sometimes use jokes to cover-up plot points that weren’t fully thought-through. Overall the film really just seems sort of unfinished.Still, it had some moments that I thought were good enough to, frustratingly, show that Park Chan-Wook is clearly a filmmaker that can do better than this (as is other films showed as well). I think he could be up there with people like Michael Haneke if he tried, instead of settling (at worst) for Tarantino diversion. Some of the cinematography was actually remarkably nice as well, despite occasional overdone stylistic flourishes (not that “Oldboy” wasn’t hyper-stylish, but there it seemed well-integrated into a solid film, whereas this seems like a bit of a patchwork job). All and all I think this film is a case of a promising filmmaker-of-the-moment ultimately just being lazy, unfocused, and undisciplined (notibly there are numerous cheap allusions back to “Oldboy”, as if cashing in on that film’s success), like a smug little joke on the audience, giving out tidbits of enticement when they could be blowing minds.

  • shriiviml-rohn
    shriiviml rohn

    Having only just finished watching a marathon screening of Jewel In The Palace, also another Lee Young-Ae vehicle, a few weeks ago in the comfort of my home, I was pleasantly surprised at how flexible this actress could be in her acting skills.Perhaps it is her plain-faced mien that has not seen the plastic surgeon’s knife or the ease with which she looks innocent and then sensual and then psychotic all at once in this film that helped her to put on this character like a pair of pantyhose- sensual, warm, transparent yet opaque.The twists and themes in the show were also very different and very unexpected. When you think the film is going to come to a close, it walks away from the curtains to take you into an even higher level of movie-going experience.Sympathy for Lady Vengeance boasts of excellent scriptwriting with dark humor lightening up the otherwise even darker theme of vengeance. The acting from the various cast members were commendable as well as the DP-ing and various subtle yet very effective special effects in the film. The directing was also superb as was the cinematography.I left the cinema feeling like I had watched my $8 worth and then some. I dun wanna spoil anything by giving away the storyline/ general plot or the very intriguing twists etc. I just hope you will give this film a chance to charm you like only dark chocolate can. When you’re done, it will feel like you’ve just eaten a nice comfy bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream. Yummy, Delicious and happy.

  • patrick-terry
    patrick terry

    I watched it in Hong Kong yesterday, where it falls into Category III. Usually films that are in Cat.III are very bloody violent/sexually explicit films. Old Boy was in Cat.III and I can see why. But this, nothing in terms of visual images, i think, is too violent to fall into category III. In fact, the images are so stunning and beautiful, carefully designed and arranged, that at several points of the movie I wonder if anyone can still wear the 70s dress GumJa was wearing as beautifully as she did, or who would have beautifully repeating symmetrical patterned repeating wooden wall in a toilet, or orange zebra lines against the black on the wall of a bedroom. Nevertheless, the setting only acted as a beautiful addition.The theme of the movie, i think, is something in Cat.III. Dreaming about a man-headed dog being shot on the head in the middle of a snow desert while falling blissfully asleep during praying! Waow! Is it because the main lead is a woman and a mother, who explicitly shows her feelings for her child that I like this movie so much better than Old Boy? Actually Old Boy’s male lead also showed that love towards his daughter, but I guess it was the ending, which was so twisted I just couldn’t take it in. GumJa’s story was much more straight-forward and her character makes it so much easier to feel sympathy for her. Yes, “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” is exactly what you will feel when you leave the cinema.Plus, I love her blood-velvet-red eyeshadow!

  • frederique-pires
    frederique pires

    There I was, in Sitges’ film festival, in Barcelona, where one year ago Chan-Wook Park had won his prize for the great masterpiece Old Boy. This time he was presenting his last movie “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” to end the revenge trilogy.Everyone was waiting for the movie to start, all Park’s fans and the lady at the festival announced the director’s arrival. There he came in, the Korean director with the translator, trying to explain the meaning of his surname in Korean, and talking about loads of stuff – except the movie. Finally he thanked people for making his movie Old Boy “win a lot of money”. I think is this personality that makes Park’s movies so special. Just like this last one, its a beautiful bizarre movie, like its creator. The audience was already amazed with the starting credits of unusual beauty that just took the breath away from all audience and guarantied that the movie was going to be something different. Truth is that the movie is different, at least more different than his early Old Boy. This time he had created a movie where the story didn’t count as much, but maybe the visual side of it, images that contain so much beauty that just makes the movie already worthy of seeing. The story is also really good, charged with all sort of surrealism and irony that makes it extremely interesting. Also, this time the director had treated vengeance with another style, more beautifully and also comprehensive, accomplishing that the audience can identify themselves with the main character, Geumja. When it was ended, the movie received a warmly applause from an audience, including myself, that hadn’t been disappointed and that thought the director had done a great and bizarre job to end his trilogy.

  • skaidrite-liepa
    skaidrite liepa

    I guess it was somewhat convenient and clever for Park to have conceived this film as the third and final installment to his two pragmatically different films. Seeing as how Lady Vengeance shares two similar themes of unjust imprisonment and child kidnapping with her elder brothers Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Clearly if this picture wouldn’t have been regarded in the trilogy, many would proclaim Park as stagnant and unable of moving away from these akin proses dealing with revenge.Film opens with the release of Lady Vengeance, a.k.a. “The Witch”, a.k.a. “kind-hearted Geum-ja”, played by the elegant Yeong-ae Lee. I was quite surprised by how heavily narrated this film was from the get-go, as I was expecting the major breakdowns and motives revealed at a much later time, lets say right before the final pinnacle. But I preferred this to how Oldboy played, in a sense that Lady Vengeance didn’t largely depended on the “big shocker” to end the film and instead moved along steadily, revealing everything piece by piece.Making comparisons with Park’s past two films was much tangible here as with each beautiful classical piece mirroring one from Oldboy there was also the unexaggerated violence similar to that of SFMV. The music was again well chosen and played in melancholic and elating waves without any use of mainstream ballads or electronic beats. Some of the compositions were used multiple times and while they might come off a bit repetitive, most of them were either recurring for the sake of certain notions and themes that the characters were going through or just because. Aside from the tight main cast, many known and capable faces of Korean cinema made appearances in short and shorter interludes throughout the film. Not much else could be said, apart from them doing just as much as the script was asking of them. While the visual and musical aspects of the film are simply splendid, the story here might cause some viewers to contend whether everything premeditated and executed by our leading lady was truly worthful. **The following comments contain spoilers**A lot was shown of what Geum-ja was like during the prison time where she was boldly portrayed as a calculating, ‘devil in God’s clothes’ of a woman who had a conveniently good eye for helping those who could later help her. Geum-ja was able to put on a quite a good by finding faith and making public speeches. But she had the best part reserved for Mr. Baek, played by the powerhouse actor Min-sik Choi. Mr. Baek had betrayed Geum-ja and made her take the blame for a murder of a child that he himself committed. And if then 19 year old Geum-ja was to refuse, he would’ve simply killed her (illegitimate) newborn child.More was revealed about Mr. Baek who continued working as a kindergarten teacher for when Geum-ja captured him with the help of her former cell mate, who returned her a favor by marrying Mr. Baek and coping with his demeaning ways. Apparently Mr. Baek’s past crime with that child wasn’t a singular case as he had a fetish for capturing little kids and taping their deaths on camera for his viewing pleasure. After toying with Mr. Baek, but holding back from completely destroying him, Geum-ja revealed her grand plan. Standing in the middle of an abandoned school, in a classroom of irregularly filled seats, Geum-ja gathered the family members of those kids that Mr. Baek had killed. After screening the tapes, Geum-ja gave those people options to either have their way with Baek or call upon the law to deal with him instead.Watching these characters nauseate over the tapes of their little children being tortured in a way deflated Geum-ja’s arc as a character and somewhat weakened the film’s final punch in my eyes. So many years spent in jail and questions surrounding the well-being of her daughter must have been undoubtedly excruciating for her, but standing next to these people, who unlike her seemed so much more humane and relatable, I felt a lot more sorrow for them than I did for Geum-ja, most likely due to how mechanical and manipulative her character was made to look, which to say the least was brave of the director, if not a bit overzealous. Her struggles with gaining forgiveness from the dead boy and the symbolism of the white cake representing her state of repentance, overshadowed the climax of the revenge, however the scenes with the family members going in one by one after Mr. Baek were the essence of the film. **End of spoilers**In the end I found Lady Vengeance more infatuated with itself than Oldboy, but not as fundamentally visceral and unrelenting as SFMV, which remains to be my favorite film from Park to date. Lady Vengeance felt like an amusement park, filled with hard facts mixed with dreamy imagination sequences, en route of sardonic pokes at religion and sexual deeds. A film with a little bit of everything for everyone, that’s if you don’t strip away its flashy overtones and comic-book-like personifications, which gracefully coat the film’s otherwise improbable scheme, fantasized by a random cell-woman, unjustly imprisoned for a crime she didn’t commit. I think Park needs to make a film that will not only disassociate him from his well talked about and highly debated trilogy flicks, but will devoid him from being thrown into the pool of devaluing comparisons to Hollywood films like Kill Bill as also witnessed with the response to A Bittersweet Life from the press and movie fans. Park has all the right tools and he has shown us the many faces of revenge, now it’s time for him to show us something else.

  • domingo-marin-mendizabal
    domingo marin mendizabal

    I won’t be surprised to see hordes of housewives watching Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, given the Korean drama penetration into Asian households, especially the wildly popular Jewel In The Palace starring the same lead actress Lee Youngae. Then again, given the theme on revenge, filled with its fair share of blood and gore, this new movie by Park Chanwook might appeal to just a select few.It’s easy to draw comparisons with Hollywood’s recent revenge movie, Quetin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Both stars hot actresses, both movies focus on the same theme, both have children playing an integral part of the protagonist’s motivation, and both were essentially screwed by a male baddie. However, Sympathy plays up the stylistic factor, as well as little art-house nuances in delivering sweet revenge.Lee Youngae plays Lee Geumja, whom we see leaving prison after serving a sentence of 13 years for kidnap and murder. Or is it? Framed and blackmailed by her collaborators, she bears the brunt of the responsibility and blame, which sent her packing to jail. Naturally she swears vengeance upon the mastermind of the dastardly deeds, as hell as knoweth no fury like a woman who’s really angry.Playing up biblical moments in the movie by symbolizing Geumja as a devil in angel’s clothing (or vice versa, depending on how you want to look at it), the movie intersperses narrative moments with essential flashbacks to her life in prison. On one hand, she’s the angel to newcomers who protects them from the bad prison cell mama-san, while on the other, she’s the devil who’s plotting murder on the sly. She gains respect from these inmates, who play important roles when Geum-ja is released, to exact her 13 year revenge plan. One of the best scenes in demonstrating this was the making of her twin-trigger handgun, translating poetic justice straight from the pages of a suture.The final showdown is different from Kill Bill’s, without the monotonous monologue, and the imaginary Five Point Exploding Heart Palm technique. Here, it’s brutal, it’s violent, and somehow, satisfactory. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but only enjoyable when share with a group of like-minded diners, to classical Vivaldi music. The final 20 minutes of the show makes an interesting conversation and analytical piece, so I would not spoil anything here.While at times the movie does plod along, it depended heavily on Youngae to shoulder this film through its slower moments. I’m not sure why, but somehow through the many close-ups, I find she has aged quite a lot from her JSA days.Make no mistake, this film might not be for all to bear. Those who are expecting numerous gunfights and explosions will be disappointed, as Geumja does not roar and rampage like what Beatrix did. But when she finally does, in artistic style, all can be forgiven.

  • isaac-aragon-avila
    isaac aragon avila

    After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering the boy Park Won-mo, Geum-ja Lee (Yeong-ae Lee) is released and tries to fix her life. She finds a job in a bakery; she orders the manufacturing of a special weapon; she reunites with her daughter, who was adopted by an Australian family; and she plots revenge against the real killer of Won-mo, the English teacher Mr. Baek (Min-sik Choi). With the support of former inmates from prison, Geum-ja seeks an unattained redemption with her vengeance.”Lady Vengeance” is a very dark tale of vengeance and search for redemption. The screenplay is confused in some moments, using symbols and metaphors, but the story is engaging blending black humor and unpleasant and bold scenes of torture and death of children with a harsh revenge. Yeong-ae Lee has a magnificently performance in the role of Geum-ja along almost fourteen years of her life. I am a big fan of Chan-wook Park, and I regret that in Brazil the first movie of his trilogy about vengeance (“Boksuneun Naui Geot” a.k.a. “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”) has not been released yet. My vote is eight.Title (Brazil): “Lady Vingança” (“Lady Vengeance”)

  • maks-jovanovic
    maks jovanovic

    hailed as “the thinking man’s Kill Bill,” the third and final chapter in master film maker Chan-Wook Park’s epic revenge trilogy, which includes the brutal and thrilling Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and the astoundingly moving Oldboy, is a fine ending to what Park reffers to as his “Revenge Trilogy.” where Mr. Vengeance dealt with the futility of revenge, and Oldboy dealt with revenge as a spiritual experience, Lady Vengeance deals with revenge in a very different way, Lady vengeance is about the absolution of revenge.gathering much of the cast from the first two films, Park weaves the story of a young woman who is sent to prison for murdering a young boy. of course she is framed for it, but she never admits this to the police. instead she lays in wait, deciding that her vengeance is best served personally, without the obstruction the law provides. during her time in jail, she is a model prisoner, helping and being kind, so much that she becomes known as “the kind-hearted witch.” during this time she formulates a string of relationships with her fellow inmates, little do these friends know that they are simply pawns, but upon realization of that fact, they accept their place and are ready to help this woman with attaining her goal, for some it even becomes a personal mission of their own to see the wrong-doer brought to justice. upon release, the plan is set into action and we witness a kind of Kill-Bill “bloody satisfaction” romp as Kind Hearted Geum-Ja strives for her sweet vengeance. as is the usual with Park’s films, there is a profoundly interesting twist ending, perhaps not as meaningful as Oldboy’s, but certainly more straightforward and palatable to an audience who isn’t aware of the films intent from the get-go.the direction is top-notch, Park has opted to blend the very divergant styles he portrayed in Mr Vengeance and Oldboy, into a solid and beautiful looking presentation, much cleaner than his previous efforts, but with just as much blood dirt and gore. some of the comedic elements of the film work better than anything Park has attempted in his previous films, but just as many don’t work. all the performances are fantastic, especially on the part of the now legendary Minsik Choi, who showed us all how it’s done in Oldboy as the protagonist of that film: Dae Su.some of the film is in English for plot reasons, and those scenes seem much less awkward than in most other films that blend language. if Park keeps this up he may just be offered to direct an English film, or an English adaptation of one of his own films, and that would be a sight to see.all in all, i cant recommend this film more, it’s easily the most light-hearted of the three revenge opera’s, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as heartfelt or human as Oldboy or Mr. Vengeance. the ironic thing is, that even though this is the last in the series, it’s a good place to start, as it’s the least experimental, and the most palatable to people who are unaware of the genre or style that Park dominates in his other ventures.

  • cesar-del-bou
    cesar del bou

    It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that revenge, aside from being a dish best served cold (with attention to detail), is an act that instead of bringing closure, opens floodgates to our deepest, base nature comes flying out and logic goes out the window. It’s more a harbinger of dangerous emptiness than to the means of setting things straight. And yet, we indulge in it, often to extreme lengths, and on more than one occasion, it’s the only thing to do.SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE is an excellent study of how the passage of time can deepen wounds from more than one source. It’s about how a woman’s all-consuming need for getting back at a man who ruined her life has her become the most angelic looking woman in prison. Indeed, Geuma-ja Lee’s face radiates a translucent luminosity when she meditates as she ingratiates herself into the lives and stories and situations of her inmates, ensuring that once she’s out of prison, they will gladly comply in getting her right within striking distance to her enemy, Mr. Baek.The first half of the movie may baffle or annoy people. Park Chan-wook is a highly stylized study of interconnecting stories that take the long way into establishing what will become a more linear course during the second half. Character delineations of Geum-ja Lee’s inmates are broad but effective in getting the convoluted plot into motion. Most notably drawn is a overweight lesbian who killed her entire family and ate them and who has a thing for “plumper” girls. While she berates every other female who comes across her path and at the moment of a disturbing orgasm calls out Geum-ja’s name, Geum-ja has a surprise in store for her no one could see coming.This is one of the many surprises that describe SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. Geum-ja’s elliptical course towards Mr. Baek has her getting involved with a much younger boy at the same time she travels to Australia to reclaim her lost daughter who resents Geum-ja’s abandonment. Transitions from one scene to the next are visually stunning — the movie has the feeling of a very lucid dream in which characters not present in one scene appear in order to interact with the ones on-screen. The sequence in which Geum-ja catches up to Mr. Baek and tortures him while her daughter watches is a tour-de-force of poetic violence. Interposing Yeong-ae Lee’s profile with the young actress who plays her daughter as they exchange explanations, using Mr. Baek as a translator, is brilliant as it is moving as it precludes the story’s second emotional, ferocious climax. It’s here when the film reveals and revels in what it has been hinting at all along: releasing our basest natures in order to destroy the person who destroyed a loved one — in this case, an innocent child. Gothic, potent images, ruthless and implacable: the movie jumps right over the edge and embraces its blackness like a lover. It’s terrific to watch.SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, however, looks like it should have ended here but Park Chan-wook has something else in store: the meditation of what the aftermath. It’s here when mother and daughter have one of their most poignant exchanges on film, which seems symbolic rather than actual, but draws the notion that all there is left to do is to become pure. For such an emotionally, visually violent film, this may be the only way to go from here.

  • coejeongsug

    This is a very interesting film but in my opinion it is only partially successful. It is stylishly and imaginatively shot which is its main virtue. This virtue should not be underestimated as it kept my interest throughout and hugely increased the overall appeal of the film. It is an odd and very dark story, but quite an intriguing plot. The imagination of style is, it seems, combined with the director’s intention to imbue the film with great substance and meaning. However, this aspect was somewhat lost on me. I feel it is a very empty film morally and emotionally, which may be the intention, but this does not appeal to me and is, surely, a very acquired taste. Scenes involving relatives of murdered children watching tapes of their children being tortured fail to make me believe in the slightest that they have suffered loss at all, let alone the horror of seeing their own child being tortured. The sequence where those relatives torture the child killer is equally cold, empty and unrealistic. How could the survival of their victim be ensured for each of them to have a turn when each of them inflicts life threatening injuries?! All the characters and the whole story are so cold that I could not care less who lives, dies, wins or loses anyway by the end! This film is very interesting and well shot but not at all emotionally involving and I failed to see the point the director is trying to make about revenge or anything else.

  • vlasta-erjavec
    vlasta erjavec

    This film was just released in Seoul, South Korea. I couldn’t wait too long to see the last part of the vengeance trilogy. Oh boy, if you are a fan of CW Park and enjoyed his prior part of vengeance trilogy(i.e., old boy, sympathy for Mr.vengeance), you need to add this one to your must-see list. I personally think that this is the best one out of those three because: (1) this one allows the main character to have a clear motivation to revenge, and (2)this one is the most beautifully shot film out of those three. For some who like shocking scenes (like eating octopus or pulling teeth off etc), I wanted to let you know that this film is not violent/shocking as prior ones. Well, actually some of my friends watching the movie together seemed to be a bit disappointed because their expectation for CW Park was unrealistically high. Probably my friends might have wanted more schocking/irrational stuff in this one.

  • evrim-berrin-tarhan-camurcuoglu
    evrim berrin tarhan camurcuoglu

    I had the luxury of watching this last night and was awed by it’s sheer brilliance. I don’t want to delve into the story, as you must see it for yourself to savor the fantastic story like a glass of red wine.The story revolves around a young woman sentence to jail due to murdering a young boy. Upon release she then embarks on a journey of redemption for the crime committed. The cast’s acting is impeccable on all sides. with sumptuous photography and a moving musical score consisting of such great composers as Vivaldi.If you are a lover of foreign cinema this is a definite DO NOT MISS movie!

  • margot-le-chartier
    margot le chartier

    The final instalment of Park’s Revenge Trilogy concluded well. In fact, I personally feel that it is the best out of the three film, excellent cinematography and beautiful classic music that blended perfectly well into the story. Lee Youngae gives fantastic performance in her role, a complete impression from her previous kind-hearted and sweet looking role in “Jewel in the Palace”. Cold and filled with vengeance , yet she exudes fine elegance with her subtle body language and facial expression. The soundtrack works well at suitable moments, infusing classic into this art-house film. It was a pity the film didn’t win any grand awards in the Venice Film Festival, Park definitely deserves recognition for his excellent works.

  • gunaydin-akca
    gunaydin akca

    i usually don’t enjoy movies that contain gore, suspense, and violence. still, sympathy for lady vengeance was undoubtedly, a movie worth watching. even for those who actively dislike movies in this certain genre, sympathy for lady vengeance is an absolute must. out of the trilogy, this one was the one i enjoyed most. there was nothing overly-excessive and/or gratuitous (which i honestly found oldboy and sympathy for mr vengeance had a bit of), and it definitely cannot be considered a brain-candy film. with an extremely intelligent and interesting plot, and visually stunning cinematography, it was a spectacular piece of art, from the start to the finish, and had me thinking about it and talking about it for days afterward.

  • frode-abrahamsen-lie
    frode abrahamsen lie

    Just got the Korean 2 DVD set and watched the B/W version first. All I can say is that, this film is a masterpiece! I was very moved and if you do one more thing in your life before you die, see this film!Of course, I use the term “masterpiece” in its true sense, as the work which reveals an artist’s achievement of “mastery” over his or her craft. Don’t be confused with the latter conotation that a masterpiece is a “perfect” work. Could there ever be such a thing? Truly, this film shows the original sense of the word, such that I would be nervous seeing any subsequent films from him.There are two versions of the film. I checked the colour version, and besides the opening credits being slightly different, and the much talked about retaining of colour throughout, it appears to be exactly the same.I am sure your are all familiar with the premise, but I think that the less you know, the better. At it’s basic level, this film follows in the classic “quest for revenge” schema. A beautiful woman is condemned to 13 and a half years of incarceration for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy. By this theme, the film connects to the previous entries in the now Vengeance “Trilogy”, but it is in no way a rerun.Just like the other two films, (Sympathy for) Lady Vengeance is gorgeous. The design in the film is extraordinary, and there are so many frames that are simply beautiful. The use of colour and light is inspirational in some parts, and I really can’t think of watching any version but the “fading” one. Maybe it’s because I saw that version first, but I didn’t find the colour version as deeply affecting.I think that which is better will be a personal decision for all who see this film. There are a some points where the fading version is very effective with what becomes subdued spots of colour. Yet, the characters in the film are also colourful, and fleshed out enough so that the viewer gets to know them, but not enough that they know them completely.The past is something hidden for these characters, in many ways that is a thematic point of the film. The film is truly about redemption, and as we follow the moving drama within we may even come to understand something within ourselves. It is truly a fitting end to this three film exploration into hate remorse and revenge.

  • diana-ratsep
    diana ratsep

    Chan-Wook Park was already the Master of Dysfunction after Old Boy, now he can add the title of King of Pain (thanks Sting) to his CV.The depth of feeling in the second half of this film is staggering, and comes in stark contrast to the startling apathy of the first half. The masterful cinematography is something we have come to expect but the director’s ability to compose the most evocative of tableaux never ceases to amaze- the final shot of the movie being a case in point.As the above reviewer says, one must be cryptic in commenting on this film but it must be said that its final act really transforms it from a beautifully crafted work into a masterpiece.This is a film which shocks without ever descending into gratuity, while frequently forcing a guilty laugh with its darker-than-black’s-shadow humour.

  • konrad-wiercigroch
    konrad wiercigroch

    “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” is a surprisingly poetic finale to Park’s excellent Revenge Trilogy. The film fuses the relatively low-key style of “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” with the jet-black humor of “Oldboy,” while adding welcome moments of poignancy and sentiment. The film is nowhere near as violent as its predecessors, although a good deal of mayhem takes place offscreen.Yeong-ae Lee is outstanding as the troubled protagonist Geum-ja, the ex-convict who is seeking redemption as much as revenge. Although the supporting actors — including several from Park’s earlier films — are uniformly fine, Lee’s performance is the heart of the film.”Lady Vengeance” is difficult to describe without revealing major plot points, as the most memorable scenes come at revelatory moments in the story. Suffice it to say that the climax blends tragedy and hilarity with a degree of success that few directors could hope to match.9/10. Bravo.