Oldboy: Locked in a Dystopian Room.

One of my favorite films of all time is the Korean film, Oldboy. Released in 2003, the movie Oldboy revolves around the life of the protagonist, Dae-su. The movie starts of with our protagonist drunkenly walking home on the night of his young daughter’s birthday.  Then suddenly out of nowhere he is kidnapped. We then find him locked inside what seems to be a hotel room.

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This is the life…

Poor little Dae-su is locked inside this musky room for 15 years, YEAH THAT”S RIGHT 15 WHOLE YEARS, without even being told why he is being held there. All he has in the room is a bed, a shower, a journal, a pen, and a TV. His TV quickly becomes his everything. It’s his informant, entertainer, and even with “certain shows” his lover. The television even becomes his enemy when it tells him that his very own wife had been murdered. This attachment to the television is similar to how in the book 1984, the “telescreen” had become imbedded into the lives of the citizens of London. In George Orwell’s dystopian world, the telescreen is always playing in the background to regulate the actions of those who are forced to constantly listen to it. The telescreen is a tool that the corrupted government uses to control its people.

TV 1984[1]

TV is like your mom, It knows best

Dae-su continues to go through day after day of only watching television, sleeping, and eating the only food source given to him – DUMPLINGS.

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DUMPLINGS!!!!!!!!

Although Dae-su finds reprieve in television, Man cannot live on TV and dumplings alone. He starts to become confused, disoriented, and agitated. After all he has been locked up in a small room for who knows how long without even knowing why he is being kept there.

1

We all have had our fair share of bad hair days

He begins to lose track of time. He doesn’t know the time, the day, or even the year. Similar to how the protagonist of 1984 doesn’t even know if current year he is living in is even 1984. This messes with his mind and he goes nuts. He tries to kill himself, but every time he tries sleeping gas always fills the room to stop him from freeing himself from all the torture. After a while. Dae-su begins to full heartedly despise whoever put him in the cell. He begins to put all his effort into trying to free himself in order to find the person who imprisoned him. His first step in his plan was to keep track of how much time had gone by in order to keep him a little bit more sane. In order to do this he tattoos tally marks onto his hand. One for each day.

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It’s his “Handy” Dandy Notebook – yeah it’s a bad joke

He also begins to work out intensively by shadowboxing with the wall. Dae-su also uses a chopstick to slowly carve away a brick from the wall next to his bed. After many years he is now super buff and finally carves away that one brick from the wall. However once he sees a glimmer of the outside world, gas surrounds him and he immediately looses consciousness. Once he wakes up he finds himself outside in an open field laying in a suitcase.

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Good thing he wasn’t claustrophobic

Now that Dae-su is “free”, he now has to try to find the man who put him through so many years of torture. He eventually meets up with a girl named Mi-Do at a sushi restaurant where he orders a live octopus to eat.

oldboy-octopus[1]

Tastes like Chicken probably

The two then fall in love and Mi-Do tries to help Dae-su find the man who kidnapped him long ago. On his search, Dae-Su finds the hotel where he had been kept for 15 years. He finds out that it was  a private prison where people can pay the owners to lock up whomever the buyer wanted. Dae-su, with his fists and trustee hammer, quickly kills all of the gang members inside the prison and walks toward the wardens office.

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This isn’t an exaggeration. He beated up this many people at once.

Now facing the warden, Dae-su tells the warden to tell him who paid to imprison him. The warden at first refuses but Dae-su has already figured out a Plan B. (WARNING THIS PART IS GORY) In order to get the warden to talk, Dae-su takes out his handy-dandy hammer and uses the back-end of the head to yank out the wardens teeth. One by one.

Yeah just imagine this guy but with a hammer. This is why I dislike dentists.

Yeah just imagine this guy but with a hammer. This is why I dislike dentists.

Dae-su then finds that the person who paid for his imprisonment is a man named Ji-Tae. This is where I will leave with the notorious cliffhanger. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out who Ji-Tae is, why he has a vendetta for Dae-su, what Mi-Do’s true identity is, and if Dae-su is finally free in the end . You most definitely will be surprised with this movie.

 

-Daramji

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