I saw the trailer for the Americanized version of this when I saw Carrie the other day, and decided it was time to see the original. This marks the third time I’ve tried to watch this movie. Once there was a problem with the file, once I could only find it dubbed and I don’t do dubbed.
Oh Dae-Su is just a normal guy who gets a little too tipsy one night. Then he finds himself in what seems to be a seedy motel room, but is actually a prison. He is fed dumplings every day (I had dumplings in Korea a little too soon after food poisoning and the thought of them makes me a little queasy.), has only the TV for company and after a while starts training by punching walls and working out. Fifteen years later he gets out. Who imprisoned him? Why? These are the questions Dae-su must answer.
Dae-Su’s character is wonderfully realized as he loses his humanity over the course of the film. There are some killer gross outs, (involving octopus and teeth—though not together) but the film’s violence and brutality never feels gratuitous. I don’t want to say a lot because the film really does need to speak for itself and stand on its own feet. I’m VERY curious to see how the American remake later this year (coming in November). I hope it becomes a clever companion piece (a la Let Me In/Let the Right One In) and not a flop.