Spike Lee gives a South Korean mystery a Hollywood remake in ‘Oldboy’

OLDBOY (Image Credit: Filmdistrict)

OLDBOY (Image Credit: Filmdistrict)

Filmmaker Spike Lee’s adaptation of Oldboy will be hitting theaters on Oct. 25. The original South Korean film, directed by Chan Wook Park, was released in 2003 and, in my opinion, is a controversial masterpiece.  Violent, stylish and extremely twisted, the movie’s plot is deliciously intriguing and utilizes different genres including action, drama and suspense to tell its story in a nonlinear format. Loosely based on the Japanese manga, the film follows a man who is imprisoned for 15 years, then released unexpectedly, only to find he has just five days to find his captor. I’m curious to see how Lee and screenwriter Mark Protosevich, whose work includes I Am Legend and Thor will cater the film to American audiences. It’s content material certainly is dark and explores the complexities of humanity as I said, after watching it the first time, I felt like I needed a long hot shower followed immediately by watching butterflies in a field while drinking a soda and playing board games with friends. However, it may just be one of the most interesting genre-bending films I’ve ever seen.

When Spike Lee was initially announced to direct the remake, I was taken aback. The man is certainly a qualified, successful and reputable filmmaker, with movies like Inside Man, Macolm X and the Academy Award-nominated Do the Right Thing under his belt, but this type of material is seemingly very different from those films. And that’s exciting – an established filmmaker taking chances is always respectable. Factor in the film’s cast, including Josh Brolin ( No Country For Old Men), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha, Marcy, May Marlene), Samuel L. Jackson and Sharlto Copley (District 9) this thing becomes something you might just want to add to your “must-see list” of films in 2013.

Brolin plays the film’s lead, and he’s a perfect fit – grungy, rough and unconventionally muscular, the advertising executive he embodies is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Olsen is always wonderful on screen. And Samuel L. Jackson?! That’s some line-up. There are some differences to question in this new Oldboy though – why is the imprisonment five years longer than in the original? What elements of present day pop culture will the film include? How will Spike Lee infuse his style into the material? Fun fact: interestingly enough, Park made his debut in American cinema this year with Stoker, a film with a similar tone that opened to critical acclaim. Anyways, I guess we’ll just have to find the answers to those questions when the film opens in October.

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