after being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, oh dae-su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
dir.: chan-wook park
drama / mystery / thriller
min-sik choi as dae-su oh
ji-tae yu as woo-jin lee
hye-jeong kang as mi-do
- based on japanese manga “oldboy” by nobuaki minegishi and garon tsuchiya.
- 4 live octopodes were eaten for the scene with dae-su in the sushi bar, a scene which provoked some controversy abroad. eating live octopus in korea is commonplace although it is usually sliced first. when the film won the grand prix at cannes, the director thanked the octopodes along with the cast and crew.
- min-sik choi trained for 6 weeks and lost 20 pounds to get in shape for the role of dae-su, and did most of his own stunt work.
- the telephone number (08-6600330) which is supposed to go to oh dae-su’s daughter’s foster parents home in sweden, actually has been “shut down requested by the owner of the number” (that’s what the voice says when you call the number). but you are referred to another number (08-54589400) which goes to “the embassy of the republic of korea” in stockholm, sweden.
- the anthem of oh dae su’s and lee woo-jin’s school is that of choi min sik’s school.
- the flashback sequence when oh dae su visits his former school was color corrected in post-production to a predominately brown color scheme.
- scenes at the police station with drunken and disorderly dae-su oh were the very last scenes the director scheduled to film. min-sik choi (dae-su oh) ad-libbed most of these “drunken” scenes, including the scene of him playing with toy wings that he bought for his daughter. he also ad-libbed many of his lines during the penthouse scene, including the anthem of his school.
- dae-su oh bangs his head right after stopping mi-do from reading his diary. this “head banging” was not a scripted action. however hye-jeong kang (mi-do) kept her cool and continued on with her lines. the director, in an interview, said that he kept and used this supposedly ng scene for its comical and emotional value.
- the last scenes of the movie (with snow and footsteps) were filmed in new zealand. after the ending credit completely rolls over, audiences can hear sound of the wind. it was actual sound of the wind recorded in nz location. the director revealed in an interview that he was impressed by the scenary of nz so much he saved the sound there for the (korean) audience.
- this is the 2nd one of director chan-wook park’s “revenge trilogy”. the 1st is boksuneun naui geot. the 3rd is chinjeolhan geumjassi. incidentally, the very first speaking character in this film, who commits suicide with his dog and whose story we never hear, is played by kwang-rok oh. in the 1st of the revenge trilogy he played an anarchist who appears at the very end of the film. he is the only credited character who appears in both movies.
- chan-wook park wanted a documentary feel during the police station scene by using jump cutting. as a result, most of min-sik choi’s ad libbed lines were trimmed. the full ad libbed scenes are found on the uk tartan dvd.
- according to the cast commentary, min-sik choi wanted the cameraman to follow his legs when playing with the toy wings. he was trying to do a “moonwalk” originally done by michael jackson.
- the restaurant that mido works in is called “mediterranean”, which is the name of the restaurant in real life, but the director originally intended for it to be called “akira” - not as a reference to the popular manga, but to the japanese director akira kurosawa.
- min-sik choi is a buddhist and had to pray after eating the octopuses.
- during the scene in the cyber cafe, the extras in the background are playing the popular first person shooter half-life: counter-strike. this is apparent when watching screens and when listening to background noise. you can faintly hear the famous awp weapon being fired from time to time. you can also notice sounds from starcraft in the background.
- the line on the painting of dae su’s cell reads “laugh and the world laughs with you. weep and you weep alone.” these are the first lines of ella wheeler wilcox’s famous poem, “solitude”.
- when talking about sleeping gas used by russian special forces, oh dae-su refers to 2002 moscow ‘nord-ost’ theater hostage crisis.