Oldboy (2003)

Did you know that Oldboy is technically a comic book movie? It is! Comics aren't just the province of caped power-fantasies, of course, they're a medium containing every possible genre you can think of, and that includes the particularly potent neo-noir that is Oldboy. It's a surprising (and surprisingly mean-spirited) film in a lot of ways, subverting expectations and rubbing your nose the ensuing messes its characters keep making. A great example of this is the near-iconic corridor fight that happens midway through the film—as it begins, there's a rush of exhilaration at all the flashy badassery on display. And then it keeps going, and going, way past the point where normal expectations for an action scene would have stopped it, until you're wedged in this claustrophobic hell of a hallway, alone with a sweaty madman barely maintaining his grip on a gore-soaked hammer. This movie is that feeling, spiking every 15 minutes or so at increased intensity, until it arrives at an impossible question and then just leaves you there. Oldboy is nothing if not one of the most beautifully fucked up movies ever made.

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