Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 4th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, July 29th, 2005
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Writers: Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Park Chan-Wook
Cast: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Tony Barry, Anne Cordiner, Su-hee Go, Hye-jeong Kang, Bu-seon Kim, Byeong-ok Kim, Shi-hoo Kim, Yea-young Kwon, Dae-yeon Lee, Seung-Shin Lee, Su-gyeong Lim, Il-woo Nam, Dal-su Oh, Kwang-rok Oh, Mi-ran Ra, Seung-wan Ryoo, Yeong-ju Seo, Ha-kyun Shin, Kang-ho Song, Ji-tae Yu, Jin-seo Yun
DVD released: September 26th, 2006
Approximate running time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: DTS Korean, Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean
Subtitles: English, Spanish
DVD Release: Tartan Video/Palisades Pictures
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: After spending thirteen ½ years in prison for a murder she did not commit Geum-ja Lee seeks vengeance against Mr. Baek the man responsible for the murder she was convicted for.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeancethe final installment in Park Chan-Wook’s “Vengeance” trilogy with the other two film’s that comprise this trilogy being Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy. Park Chan-Wook raises the creative bar with each new entry in “Vengeance” trilogy. Visually Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is equally as impressive as Oldboy. Every moment in carefully crafted for maximum meaning and impact.
The films narrative inter-cuts present day with the back story for Geum-ja Lee and the main players in her life. The Geum-ja Lee character is the most compelling to emerge out of the three films which comprise Park Chan-Wook’s “Vengeance” trilogy. Her quest for redemption/revenge while elaborate at times is a harrowing journey which all leads up to a climax rich in subtext. The films strongest moment is when Geum-ja Lee and the parents of the children who were murdered get their revenge against the man responsible for all their misery. Besides the films more violent moments the film does a superb job showing Geum-ja Lee kinder gentler side. This is most evident in the scenes in which she interacts with her daughter she has recently been reunited with.
The backbone of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is its lead actress Yeong-ae Lee in the role of Geum-ja Lee. Yeong-ae Lee perfectly captures the hopelessness of Geum-ja Lee quest for redemption. Min-sik Choi is cast in the role Mr. Baek who Geum-ja Lee wants vengeance against. Min-sik Choi who had previous played Dae-su Oh in Park Chan-Wook’s Oldboy is even more impressive in the role of the villain this time around. Just like its predecessor Oldboy the music in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance plays a significant role in conveying the characters emotions and motivations. Ultimately Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a harrowing story about humanity and loss of innocence.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Tartan films have done an exceptional job with this progressive flagged transfer that boasts vivid colors, rich black levels and razor detail throughout.
This release comes with two audio options a DTS and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The films soundtrack is primary made up of Korean with some English and Japanese dialog. You can’t go wrong with either audio mix as both sound dynamic and they are free of any audio defects. Removable English and Spanish subtitles have been included.
Extras for this release include the domestic and international trailer for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (in Korean with English subtitles) and trailers for other titles from Tartan Films Asia Extreme DVD series. Other extras include an eleven minute behind the scenes documentary (in Korean with English subtitles) and a forty two minute interview with director Park Chan-Wook who speaks in Korean while a translator interprets his answers in English. Rounding out the extra are three audio commentaries the first audio commentary with Park Chan-Wook, cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung and art director Hyeon-seok Choi, the second audio commentary once again with Park Chan-Wook who this time is joined by actress Young-ae Lee and the third audio commentary with Richard Pena a film professor from Columbia University. The first two audio commentaries are in Korean with English subtitles and the third commentary is in English. All around this is an exceptional DVD release from Tartan Films.