Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. 2002. South Korea. Directed by Park Chan-wook. Screenplay by Park, Lee Mu-yeong, Lee Jae-sun, Lee Jong-yong. With Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-Kyun, Bae Doona. 35mm. In Korean, Korean Sign Language; English subtitles. 129 min.
Deaf-mute factory worker Ryu needs money to pay for his sister’s transplant. His quest for quick cash sets off an unending litany of woes and a vicious cycle of violence. As an expanding cast of characters gets pulled into his descent into hell, the film enters ever bloodier territory. The first in what is known as Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy (which includes Oldboy and Lady Vengeance), this dark thriller dazzles with the director’s signature visual splendor.