Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
Plot: An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, Oh Dae-Su soon finds out that his kidnapper has a greater plan for him and is set onto a path of pain and suffering in an attempt to uncover the motive of his mysterious tormentor.
Four live octopodes were eaten for the scene with Dae-su in the sushi bar, a scene which provoked some controversy abroad. Eating live octopus in Korea is commonplace although it is usually sliced first. Min-sik Choi is a Buddhist and had to pray after eating the octopi.
Dae-su Oh bangs his head right after stopping Mi-do from reading his diary. This "head banging" was not a scripted action. However Hye-jeong Kang (Mi-do) kept her cool and continued on with her lines.
Based on Japanese Manga "Oldboy" by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. The original is considerably less violent than Chan-wook’s film, and the villain has different reasons for afflicting the hero.
The famous one-take corridor scene was shot in three days. No CGI was used to cleverly edit the sequence like a single shot but the scene was actually shot in one take (although a little CGI was used to show Oh Dae Su getting stabbed in the back with a knife and to correct some punches landing).
The shot at the near end of Woo-Jin holding the hand of his sister at the dam is the same exact shot shown at the beginning of the movie where Dae-Su holds the suicidal man up by his tie.
The name Dae-Su Oh (Read as Oh Dae-Su in Korean way) originated from Oedipus, the tragic hero in Greek mythology who ended up loving his own mother.
A bollywood movie Zinda is an unofficial remake of this film. However the plot does not have the controversial incest storyline and the movie had a happier ending than the original.
Quentin Tarantino was Cannes jury president that year (2004), and he was an enthusiastic supporter of Oldboy. It ended up winning the Grand Prix, essentially the second-place prize after the Palme d’Or, which went to Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11