If you've seen Korean film Oldboy, you may have been surprised to hear that an American remake was on the way at all, because it's a sick, sick movie. Consider this: the original features a man biting a live octopus in half, but most viewers tend to forget about that after sitting through the brutal ending. Even for a filmmaker like Spike Lee that's extreme. The first review of the untitled is up now, though, and the reports are that it's faithful and pretty good. Read it after the jump.
The review is from Joblo.com. Warning, pretty heavy spoilers for the original film are revealed herein:
Josh Brolin's Performance: You feel for him, you root for him, but that does not make him a good guy. That way, when he gets abducted and imprisoned, you say to yourself, '[he] deserves it.' This version follows Joe (Brolin) a little more closely during his captivity (which is for twenty years, rather than the original's fifteen). Brolin is at his best here as your heart breaks for him and you want desperately for his mental torture and anguish to be over.
Changes: There are only minor changes, with stuff like the prison sequence being longer and some tweaks to the ending. It’s not shot-for-shot by any means. You should definitely expect things to be different and to cringe all over again.
Violence: This is going to be rated R. Much like the original, acts two and three are very sadistic and "wrong." The violence hasn't been downplayed even a little bit as it's just as sick and twisted as the original. If I had to summarize the violence in three words, they would bloody, gratuitous and hammer.
Hallway Fight: While they are basically the same across both versions, they do have some similarities. Rather than a fight down a long hallway, Joe (Brolin) is tasked with fighting guys down hallways across three floors. Some people in the screening found issue with this, but personally, I loved it. It was ridiculous and over the top in all the best ways.
The Ending: The ending is even more incestuous than the original. The "big twist?" Still in there as is. However, the villain's character... let's just say the best thing about incest is that it's the game the whole family can play! The last few minutes differ greatly from the Korean film in a way that I feel fits this version very well. It almost makes more sense than the original's ending.
The person concluded by saying that the version of the film he saw was slightly over two hours and didn't have a title. He ended up giving it an 8/10.
As much as i may detest Spike Lee as a human being, he's a damn good filmmaker, and he's perfect to take on this kind of material. Taboos fall in line before him, he arranges them into perfection. Maybe we'll even get an actual title one of these days!
Here's a clip of the most famous scene from the film, and I'll let it speak for itself.
The remake will be released on October 11th.