'Oldboy' Goes to Hollywood?
Five years ago, I saw a shocking and morbid movie. It was the first Korean movie I had seen in a theater, as it came out
I was fascinated, I was amazed, I was impressed by how great the movie was (it took me a good three days to snap out
of the haze that the movie put me in).
The story was intense and riveting, and full of the usual Korean madness-- plus, this guy lives off potstickers for 15
years. (It makes sense if you actually watch the thing). I couldn't believe how gripping the movie was, and how
It gave me a newfound appreciation of Korean filmmakers and a belief that the "Hallyu" phenomenon was real. It made me
see how Korean movies could be watched and acclaimed by different countries, as I watched it and loved it through my
strange Americanized Korean perception.
The premise of the movie is deceptively simple: A man is kidnapped seemingly at random one night and held captive for
15 years, then released, also seemingly at random. He is out to figure out who kidnapped him, why he was held against
his will, and whether or not he wants to seek revenge.
It's beautiful in its portrayal of emotion (as a woman, I found it a fascinating view into the male psyche) and how
nurture (or lack thereof) can distort one's nature.
I thought it was perfect as is, though the English subtitles seemed a little off at times. There wasn't enough dialog
for the subtitles to bring a viewer out of the movie-- the whole thing could be watched without dialog, just the music
and sound effects, and it would still work (I thought so, anyway).
Now I read that "Oldboy" will potentially be remade into a Hollywood movie.
Steven Spielberg is supposedly going to direct, with Will Smith playing the role that Choi Min-Shik (최민식) was
absolutely perfect in. No offense to Will Smith, but he's not exactly the rugged, been-through-tough-times,
got-locked-up-for-15-years type. I know Choi Min-Shik didn't actually go through those things, but he really looks the
part. Or maybe he's just a fantastic actor, I don't know.
I'm torn between wanting to work on this movie and keep that desolate, hopeless sensibility that Koreans love, and
wanting to boycott this movie for remaking something that is already really great.
I guess I'll wait and see how the movie shapes up...