For Sunday, Dennis suggests Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (in Assorted Asian Exploitation). Chan-wook Park is a director with a unique gift for blending extreme violence with operatic emotion and a smooth, witty way with a camera that creates absolutely riveting movies. This is the first film in his so-called ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ (followed by the astounding, brilliant Oldboy and the not-yet-seen-by-me Lady Vengeance) and showcases the man’s virtuosity of violence with the story of three people bound together by their own desperation, very bad decisions, and plain old dumb f**king luck.
Recognizing that people who blurt out spoilers for movies in a crowded video store are evil, stupid, and destined for a very special circle of hell, I shall be circumspect about what those decisions entail, but, well, there’s a very sick lady, her blue-haired deaf brother who’ll do anything to get her a kidney, the brother’s revolutionary girlfriend, and a wealthy industrialist (The Host‘s equally-desperate dad Kang-ho Song) with an adorable little daughter. Throw in some shady, unsavory types, an illegal operation or two, and some truly crappy coincidences, and you’ve got the makings of some wrenching sequences (the brother’s deafness provides the impetus for some unbearably-ironic tension) that would make Hitchcock proud and/or envious. As the title intimates, the film provides perfectly reasonable explanations for why some generally-decent people should be either murderously-obsessed with revenge, deserving of bloody vengeance, or, naturally, both.