Directed by Spike Lee, Oldboy is a “re-imagineing” of a beloved Korean film by the same name. This is the story of Joe Doucett, played by Josh Brolin. Joe is a functioning alcoholic who wakes up to find himself locked in what appears to be a hotel room and he is never given a reason for this imprisonment. Without human interaction, Joe suffers hallucinations and ends up making a “friend” by using his blood to draw a face on his pillow case. His only “interaction” with the outside world is through the television. It’s through this that he learns of his ex wife’s brutal rape and murder, leaving his three year old daughter an orphan. According to a popular crime show, Joe is, indisputably, the perpetrator of this crime and has simply disappeared. Years later, this crime show does a follow up on Mia, Joe’s daughter. It’s this moment that drives Joe to overcome his drinking problem and begin training himself mentally and physically to escape and find Mia so he can tell her that he didn’t commit the crime, ask for forgiveness for being a poor father and atone for the past. The day Joe plans on escaping is the day that he wakes up inside of a travel case in the middle of an empty field. He is dressed in a black suit and has been given sunglasses, money and an iPhone.
From here on out, this is the story of Joe seeking the answers to who locked him up for twenty years and why? It’s clear that this “game” is being controlled by a strange man played by Sharlto Copley (District 9)and he seems to be receiving a great deal of joy out of tormenting Joe. As Joe tries to put the puzzle pieces together, he comes across Marie (Elizabeth Olsen) a young woman who can’t resist a lost cause. She ends up helping Joe try to find the answers that he’s looking for. As he embarks on his one man vengeance tour, we are treated to some pretty spectacular fight scenes and an especially gruesome torture scene. The gore is fantastic; there’s just enough and it looks good. Brolin has done a magnificent job of altering his physique for this film. He starts out as a doughy alcoholic and transforms into a lean, mean killing machine.
This is a story that has a deliciously wicked twist at the end and it would be blasphemy to ruin it. All you really need to know going into this movie is that Brolin delivers an amazing performance, Copley is delightfully slimy and evil, Olsen does a lot with a role that lacks depth and Samuel L. Jackson delivers as usual. Whatever your preconceived notions of a “Spike Lee Joint” may be, put them aside because this is a “Spike Lee Film” and he definitely worked out of his normal zone. The movie looks great, has beautiful colors, lovely visuals and the atmosphere successfully creates a constant feeling of dread and anticipation. This is a tale of revenge and deep seeded hatred. All of the actors do a wonderful job, the story is exceptionally engaging and builds to an incredible climax that you will never see coming.