Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Review: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Chan-wook Park's Chinjeolhan geumjassi (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) is a glossy, stylistic revenge movie in the vein of Kill Bill (though the big crucial scenes in the last quarter of the movie reminded me more of Grace's sweet payback in Dogville). The film is very entertaining, with particular highlights said scenes of carnage (to say more would be to spoil the fun). Lead Yeong-ae Lee (otherwise known as Jang-geum of the hit Korean soap "A Jewel in the Palace") is beautiful with two edges: adorably sweet when she smiles, stoically sculptured beauty when expressionless (or when it is revealed what she's really smiling about). She's also a highly capable actress, handling shifting emotions with ease; she can slide without visible effort from chilling vengeance devil to heartbroken mother. Still, despite the undeniable visual and aural (the score generally complements the moods) beauty of the film, it is burdened by inconsistencies in flow. The first and second parts (arcs, in a way) of the film seem to be totally different films with wholly different styles of narration. There is an attempt to thematically join the two arcs at the end, but while it is beautifully shot and executed, there is a slight failure to produce a convincingly cohesive whole. However, it only slightly deducts from the quality of the film as an artistic narrative of wrongs righted. Grade: B+

Image from IMDb

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