The first teaser poster for Oldboy debuted at CinemaCon in Vegas this weekend. It's a pretty good design, with years of captivity crossed off in red, blood-like ink.
The film, directed by Spike Lee, is an English language remake of the Park Chan-Wook masterpiece from 2003. The original film is an unhinged wonder of violence, atmosphere, character and deep, unsettling creepiness. There are aspects of that film's plot that have become absolutely iconic, ranging from a side-scrolling hammer fight to a twist ending that is shocking even on multiple viewings. Everybody wonders if that ending has been retained for the American version - after all, us USers can be a little lily-livered about such things.
Good news! According to your favorite film reviewer, Some Random Guy, the ending is intact. Some Random Guy, reporting to JoBlo after a test screening, says the ending is even improved from the Korean version. "Less reading," is what I'm assuming he means. Some spoilers follow.
The ending is even more incestuous than the original. The “big twist?” Still in there as is. However, the villain’s character…let’s just say the best thing about incest is that it’s the game the whole family can play! The last few minutes differ greatly from the Korean film in a way that I feel fits this version very well. I don’t want to give away too much, but to me, it almost makes more sense than the original’s ending.
Some Random Guy says that Josh Brolin is great as an ad exec who is imprisoned without reason for 20 years, but he really praises Sharlto Copley:
When he came on screen, I couldn’t even recognize him. He honestly blew me away with how good he was. You can tell that he’s having a great time playing a bad guy and loves to be the cat toying with a mouse right before he eats it. He comes across as someone who has immense pity for Joe while taking satisfaction from watching him squirm.
As for Spike's direction, Some Random Guy is a little vague:
I think it’s safe to say that Spike Lee has a certain feel to his movies. In this, though, you can tell it’s not something that is of his own volition. However, is fingerprints are all over this flick. Even if you didn’t know that he directed the movie, the soundtrack, cinematography, vibe and feel of the movie scream Spike Lee. It’s a great touch that I haven’t seen in his other recent movies, like Inside Man. The score, while you can tell is Spike Lee-esque, is one of the only things that bothered me. In some scenes, it perfectly reflected what was going on on screen. In others, there was no score. While that may work for some scenes (like the Batman vs. Bane fight in TDKR), it didn’t work in these. The parts of the film that are tense would be even more thrilling with the right music behind it.
I'm really having a hard time parsing what he means there exactly. I'll take comfort in the fact that it's pretty positive at any rate. Complaints about score seem premature, as the test screening he saw likely had a temp track.
Oldboy will be released on October 11th.