Oldboy

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Oldboy
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Runtime 104 minutes.
Not for children.

T50-16-COL-Tony Medley

Josh Brolin in “Oldboy.”

This is based on a Japanese manga series written by Garon Tsuchiya and illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi, about a man who is suddenly imprisoned in solitary confinement for many years without any apparent reason and then released just as suddenly after which he must find out who imprisoned him and why.

After being made into a 2003 South Korean film, for some unknown reason Spike Lee thought it should be made in an American version, which says volumes about Spike Lee’s taste. Lee’s version is unremittingly depressing and irresponsibly violent. One woman ran out of my screening after about a half hour. My guest finally bolted after about 45 minutes.

The film is replete with physical and psychological torture. Josh Brolin, the formerly imprisoned man, is shown painting a dotted line on the neck of Samuel L. Jackson and then shown graphically cutting off pieces of his neck.

But the physical torture takes a second place to the psychological creepiness of the story. Critics had to sign a statement almost in blood, restricting reviews. This is insulting and obviously unenforceable. A studio is really going to sue a film critic for publishing criticism? I guess they are concerned about spoilers because they think the plot is so shocking it shouldn’t be revealed. I don’t have to give plot points or twists to say that about this film because I think this entire film is extraordinarily reprehensible.

This movie is obscenity, pure and simple. It has no redeeming social value. Shame on the MPAA for not giving it the NC-17 rating it deserves (and which is generally reserved only for graphic sex scenes; the MPAA apparently feels that graphic torture scenes on film are OK, but show intercourse and you get the death penalty!)

Perhaps the sickest thing about Lee’s movie is that he pictures the children who are victims of incest as enjoying and looking forward to the sex.

He creates some of the most ridiculous fight scenes ever filmed. Brolin vanquishes gangs of ten or more attackers several times, fighting alone with virtually no weapons. Not since Sampson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass has there been such a man as Brolin in this film. It quickly becomes comical. This is worse than a comic book.

There is no earthly reason to actually pay money to sit through this debasing drivel.

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