Films & Architecture: "Old Boy"

Films & Architecture: "Old Boy"

This time we propose you this amazing South Korean film that shows a range of spaces from underground rooms where the crime operates to luxury apartment owned by the leaders. The movie tries to express captivity and its consequences for the hostage while being captive and after its release. The mix of colours and compositions of every scene has been carefully prepared, with patterns on the walls, strong contrasts and several kind of lighting atmosphere. Enjoy and let us know your ideas about architecture and captivity on the comments!    


Original title: Old Boy
Year: 2003
Runtime: 120 min.
Country: South Korea
Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Hwang Jo-yoon, Im Joon-hyung, Chan-wook Park
Soundtrack: Cho Young-wuk
Cast: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yoo, Hye-jung Gang, Dae-Han Chi, Dal-Su Oh


Businessman Oh Dae-su is kidnapped the night of his young daughter's birthday and placed in solitary confinement in a hotel-like prison. Confined with no human contact or explanation for his kidnapping, Dae-Su soon learns through news reports his wife has been murdered, and he is the prime suspect. Years pass with him in confinement, and Dae-su passes the time shadowboxing, planning revenge, and secretly attempting to tunnel out of his cell; after exactly fifteen years of confinement, Dae-su is released without explanation on a rooftop.

Receiving a phone call from his captor and later collapsing at a sushi restaurant, Dae-su is taken in by Mi-do, the restaurant's young chef. After Dae-su tries to sexually assault Mi-do, she confides that she reciprocates his attraction to her, and states she will have sex with him when she is ready. After discovering his daughter has been adopted in Stockholm, a man communicating with Mi-do via instant messaging recognizes and taunts Dae-su; recalling the dumplings he ate daily while imprisoned, Dae-su tracks down the restaurant that makes them and follows a delivery moped to his captors. Discovering he was held in a private prison where people can pay to have others incarcerated, Dae-su tortures the owner Mr. Park for answers; he then finds out he was imprisoned for "talking too much", and fights his way out of the building.

Located by his IP address, Woo-jin Lee reveals himself as Dae-su's kidnapper, approaches Dae-su and gives him an ultimatum: discovering his motives in five days will result in Woo-jin killing himself, but failing will result in Mi-do's death. As Dae-su and Mi-do grow emotionally intimate, the two make love. Dae-su discovers he and Woo-jin attended the same high school, and remembers spying on Woo-jin's incestuous relationship with his sister, Soo-ah. Unaware of the familial ties, he inadvertently spread a rumor before moving to Seoul; as a result of the rumor, Soo-ah suffered from false signs of pregnancy and committed suicide. Joining Dae-su's side after having his hand amputated by Woo-jin, Mr. Park agrees to incarcerate and protect Mi-do while Dae-su confronts Woo-jin.

Arriving at Woo-jin's penthouse, Dae-su admits he accidentally drove Soo-ah to suicide. Without admitting his own fault, Woo-jin then reveals that he has been controlling Dae-su's actions; by giving Dae-su a photo album, Woo-jin imparts that Mi-do is actually Dae-su's lost daughter, and that he orchestrated events through a hypnotist to make them fall in love and commit incest. A horrified Dae-su, now aware that Mr. Park is still working for Woo-jin, begs the latter to conceal the secret from Mi-do, grovelling for forgiveness before slicing out his own tongue as a symbol of his silence. Asking Mr. Park to spare Mi-do from the truth, Woo-jin leaves in an elevator, only to relive his sister's death and shoot himself.

Some time later, Dae-su sits in a winter landscape with the hypnotist whom Woo-jin used; touched by Dae-su's handwritten story and pleas, she hypnotizes him and alters his memories so that he forgets the terrible secret. Mi-do then finds Dae-su alone in the snow, and tells him she loves him before embracing him. Dae-su breaks into a wide smile, but it is quickly replaced by a look of pain, bringing into question whether the hypnosis worked.


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Cite: Daniel Portilla. "Films & Architecture: "Old Boy"" 17 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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