x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

It begins with all the playfulness and humour of Amélie and is resolved with all the sadistic bloodletting of Hostel.

My Fair Lady: Park Chan-wook wraps up the Vengeance trilogy with his masterpiece.
My Fair Lady: Park Chan-wook wraps up the Vengeance trilogy with his masterpiece.


In the third, bloody installment of Park Chan-wook's revenge trilogy, the Korean maestro shows that justice and revenge can be equally horrifying. The film sees Lee Geum-ja, played by the spellbinding Lee Yeong-ae, released from a women's prison after 13 years. A majestically woven non-linear narrative begins to fill in the blanks and suggest that her conviction was less than rock solid. It also gives clues about her intentions on release. Our protagonist dons red eyeliner and buys a pistol large enough to kill an elephant - Lady Vengeance is born. But a superhero vigilante she is not. As human as the rest of us, she is a broken woman fixated on revenge. After an impressive set-up she finally ensnares her prey, but Geum-ja is confronted with a dilemma. Should she kill this wicked man, or are there others more deserving of revenge? The melodrama begins with all the playfulness and humour of Amélie and is resolved with all the sadistic bloodletting of Hostel. The plot gets jumbled in places, particularly with the introduction of Geum-ja's estranged daughter. But when it matters, the story is on the money. The film is also a visual masterpiece. From the Kubrick-esque locations and cinematography to sharp editing and a perfect minimal score, Chan-wook doesn't set a foot wrong.
ogood@thenational.ae