Lady Vengeance (Park, 2005)


A painful endeavor, wretchedly over-directed and sytlistically underwhelming. Park is capable of greatness, but none of his skill for exciting storytelling (Joint Security Area) or his flare for cinematic aesthetics (Old Boy) are found in Lady Vengeance, the third and final segment of his “Vengeance Trilogy.”

With Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Old Boy he deals with revenge on a personal level, but here Park expands his story-line, dealing with a collective vengeance, a group dynamic of sorts that is supposed to be even more disturbing. But this epic scope of character and mood feels overdone, clearly revealing many of the problems other critics had with the first two films.

Where some object to the heightened stylistics of Mr. Vengeance, I found it masterful in its depiction of rage in response to past failures of memory and inaction. But Lady Vengeance feels like a sermon on flashy filmmaking and post-modern cynicism. Lady Vengeance starts strong enough with an amazing credit sequence and interesting setup. Park’s heroine is released from prison after 13 years for a killing a young boy. But we soon learn she has been falsely imprisoned, and seeks to reveal the secrets behind her situation and exact revenge. The story splits apart in many directions, most of them impertinent to the actual story at hand. The result; a fragmented, stoic look at revenge that wants to be an important tragedy, but can best be seen as an ordinary, visually pretty embarrasment.

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