SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE
BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
FEBRUARY 27, 2013
More visual gore than warranted content, “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” takes the revenge thriller to strange heights. Often beautiful yet frequently gruesome, “Sympathy” is a Korean film that tells the story of Ryu (Shin Ha-Kyun) and his exploits after failing to donate a kidney to his sister. With a kidnap and many deaths later, the film reaches a rather unsatisfying ending that leaves more questions than answers, requiring multiple viewings. However, the visuals in “Sympathy” are sometimes astounding, which is the spoonful of sugar in this scenario. Even with the slashing of a man’s tendons while standing in a river, a bird’s eye view of the river stained with blood is one of the gorgeous shots of the film. There is slight humor to this film that also makes it bearable, and though the deaths are not as stomach-churning as most American revenge flicks, it still makes for uncomfortable viewing. Chan-Wook Park builds a solid beginning to his “Vengeance” trilogy and shows a keen eye for what makes good visuals, even in the most macabre genres.
June 14, 2002
(for strong gruesome violence, strong sexuality, language and drug use)