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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 18 rating

Acclaimed director Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden, Oldboy) kicks off his celebrated ‘Vengeance trilogy’ with this dazzling, shocking tale of kidnapping, organ transplants and revenge.

Drama 2002 121 mins

Director: Park Chan-wook

Overview

A deaf-mute man, Ryu, works in a smelting factory and inhabits his own silent world, oblivious to the din both at work and in his downscale apartment building. He idolizes his sister, who urgently needs a kidney transplant, and when he's laid off and then tricked out of his savings by organ traffickers, his wacko girlfriend, Yeong-mi, suggests kidnapping his former boss's daughter to pay for his sister's operation. Yeong-mi sees it as social revenge. Ryu, initially scared of the consequences, finally agrees after seeing another laid-off worker attempt hara-kiri outside the boss's home. After kidnapping the boss's daughter, their whole plan starts to quickly unravel with horrible consequences.

This cruelly compelling crime drama kicked off Park Chan-wook’s celebrated ‘Vengeance trilogy’, which continued with the now iconic Oldboy (2003) and concluded with Lady Vengeance (2005). It also established a template for Korean thrillers by erupting into sheer bloodlust after an almost unbearably controlled extended build-up.