In Seoul, Ryu, a deaf worker has a sister who needs a kidney transplant. He tries to donate his own kidney to his sister, but his blood type is not compatible with hers. When Ryu is fired from Ilshin Electronics, he meets illegal dealers of organs, and the criminals propose that he give them his kidney plus ten millions Won to obtain a kidney suitable for his sister. Ryu accepts the trade,but he does not have money to pay for the surgery. His anarchist revolutionary girlfriend Cha Young-mi convinces him to kidnap Yossun, the daughter of his former employer Park, who owns Ilshin Electronics. However, a tragedy happens, generating revenge and a series of acts of violence.
Cast & Credits
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is as the title implies - a story about vengeance and making us sympathize with the motives behind said vengeance, and it does it very well.
It shows us that the world isn't black and white, and while we may not agree with how things turn out - we can understand why they ended up that way.
The emotion from the actors in this film is very raw, even to the point of being intoxicating - which is one of its main charms, I think.
The pacing was one of the weaker points of the film, as it took around an hour to really get things rolling. Sure the hour had a lot of build up, but it was really quite unnecessary at times.
It isn't a film you really want to re-watch straight away - more like you'll watch it once then maybe watch it again after a year or so.
Once it started, though... It was quite beautiful.
Anyway, delightful movie.
The atmosphere in this for me is not as gritty as Old Boy or Lady Vengeance which actually really aids the movie. This movie unlike the other two has one huge plus in my books. It's that there's no true villain. The tipping point of this movie is a result of carelessness that actually tugs at your heart and make you feel sympathetic for one of the main characters.
This cast is just as stellar featuring Song Kang Ho and a young Shin Ha Kyun who is actually what made me watch this. He plays a mute who lives with his sister and is in a relationship with Bae Doona's character. In an attempt to gain money, he and his girlfriend attempt a kidnapping that unfortunately does not fully materialize the way they had planned it. This triggers a vengeance cycle
What this movie excels in is deriving sympathy for both lead characters. There are no true villains here and vengeance here is triggered by a simple yet heart breaking moment of bad circumstances. There's some very well done symbolism and imagery in this portion of the story that makes this movie distinctly memorable for me.
However, If you've read any of my other reviews concerning the Vengeance series. I warn constantly of the director's dragging and also distracting sub plots. You will indeed have to sit through some less than interesting bits to get to the meat of the plot. I'd like to add though that you truly should finish regardless. However, let me just continue to beat a dead horse with my typical comment in regards to almost anything Park Chan Wook directs. His movies should seriously end at a certain point. He needs to go to finishing camp because honestly, the man needs to learn how to adequately end a movie without feeding us unnecessary commentary in an attempt to sound deep.