Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Must See Movie: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
A woman takes the role of avenger for ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’ (Chin-jeol-han Geum-ja-ssi), the final film in Park Chan-wook’s stylish revenge trilogy. The gender switch proves to be inspirational, bringing much-appreciated heartache and sensitivity to Park’s tale of blood justice (He co-wrote the script with Chung Seo-kyung).
Lee Geum-Ja (Lee Young-ae) is free after spending 13 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of a young boy. It’s a crime she did not commit. Geum-Ja wants to pay back the man responsible for her wrongful sentence and her former prison inmates are happy to help.
Lee worked with Park on his popular 2000 romance ‘JSA: Join Security Area’ but Geum-Ja is the type of colorful femme fatale actresses dream of playing. She’s razor smart, pretty, in a deceivingly delicate manner and fearless when it comes to exacting her deserved revenge.
Park surrounds Lee’s operatic performance with artful flourishes. Her crimson red eye shadow becomes a fashionable symbol for her bloodlust. Her handmade gun is disguised as a prayer book. Less graphic than his previous installments, ‘Old Boy’ and ‘Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance’, Park celebrates his female anti-hero with the best film of his acclaimed career. ‘Lady Vengeance’ is a complete break from the pulpy sensibilities that prevent Park’s Old Boy’ from receiving its due acclaim. ‘Lady Vengeance’ is melodrama with a killer’s instinct thanks to Lee’s love/hate performance and Park’s willingness to let her loose on the world. Actresses interested in challenging work have just discovered their best patron.
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance premiered at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and opened in New York City on April 28. Tartan Films USA will release it in art house theaters across America later this spring and summer.