Welcome to the 1st issue of Word of Mouth with D-Rock!
Word of Mouth is specifically geared for people searching for great films outside the mainstream. If you enjoy discovering films of these nature, then join me every week as I try to increase word of mouth on these hidden treasures. That being said, let’s begin.
This week Dead Man Down will hit theaters everywhere. Most revenge flicks, like Dead Man Down, are usually hit and miss. However, when they hit, they usually leave strong impacts. So, this week we will discuss the best films involving vengeance you may have never heard of. I’m going to begin with some of my favorites from South Korea and then I’ll end with an honorable mention.
WORD OF MOUTH
The awareness of Oldboy has certainly increased since its release. The film currently holds a spot on IMDB’s Top 250 list, and has Spike Lee developing a remake due out this year. However it’s frustrating that even with all its notice, when I bring the film up, 9 times out of 10 no one has heard of it. So, in case the Spike Lee remake sucks, I want people to see the brilliance of the original. Oldboy is the secondnd entry in Chan-Wook Park’s vengeance trilogy, and hailed as the single best revenge film ever made. In my opinion, this is absolutely true. Proceed with caution, because this is not for the faint of heart. Available for Netflix Streaming.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first entry into Chan-Wook Park’s vengeance trilogy, and just as brilliant as Oldboy. However, this is entirely different from the ferocious nature of that film. Mr. Vengeance is a brilliant depiction of how revenge has no good guy. The one thing South Korea has right with the revenge genre is making both sides hard to cheer for while the conflict unfolds. As for the case in this film, you sympathize with both sides, which creates a tough experience to watch the characters destroy each other. Also, just like No Country for Old Men, the movie builds tension without a music score, and utilizes silence to create dread. If you love revenge flicks, I highly recommend this. Available for Netflix Streaming.
I Saw the Devil
Arguably the most aggressive of the revenge movies from South Korea is I Saw the Devil. I’m going to quote fellow Renegade Jesse Blume when trying to explain this film, which he describes as “The single best example of violence breeding violence I have ever seen.” The film involves a secret agent who is seeking revenge against the serial killer who brutally murdered his wife. I Saw the Devil is the most realistic example of what would take place if someone were to pursue vengeance on a maniac. It’s not like most Hollywood films where the person seeking revenge comes out a champion. If you pursue a psycho, there is bound to be side-effects in the process. Also, this is not a film for the squeamish. The violence is heavy on the detail, and incredibly graphic. However, this is one of the few cases where the extreme violence serves a purpose. Available for Netflix Streaming.
This is the final film that I’ll bring up from South Korea. The Chaser is a revenge flick with a Taken spin on the subject matter. The film involves a former detective turned pimp, who is on a manhunt to find a serial killer that captured one of his working girls. Just like Taken, this movie has you enthralled every second as the protagonist searches for the victim. The only difference is the story is far less predictable. No one doubts whether or not Liam Neeson will save the day. With The Chaser, it is quite unclear if the main character can pull through, thus increasing the anxiety. If you are in the mood for a nail-biting revenge thriller, I would seek out The Chaser. Available for Netflix Streaming.
For those who dislike subtitles, here is a U.S. born vengeance film you should check out. Imagine To Catch a Predator taken to the absolute extreme. This is my personal favorite performance from Ellen Paige (Juno), who plays a young girl torturing a man, which she believes is a pedophile. Tell me that scenario does not grab your attention already. Hard Candy was directed by David Slade, who also is responsible for the highly underrated vampire film, 30 Days of Night.
Netflix Pick of the Week
Every week I’ll recommend a film on Netflix Instant Streaming you may want to consider. I always hear people complain they cannot find anything decent on Netflix, so this section is devoted to those people. Like Crazy is one of the best indie-romances I’ve seen since 500 Days of Summer. I’m usually not big on this genre but this is definitely worth your time.
UPCOMING RELEASES TO WATCH FOR
Welcome to the Punch
The Place Beyond the Pines