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old boy
Click for full sized poster

Old Boy

Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli and Samuel L. Jackson
Screenplay by Mark Protosevich
Based upon manga by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegish and the Korean Motion Picture "Old Boy"
Directed by Spike Lee

IN SHORT: Violence overwhelms Story. [Rated R for strong brutal violence, disturbing images, some graphic sexuality and nudity, and language. 104 minutes]

As a student at the exclusive Evergreen Academy, young Joe Doucett (Grey Damon) saw something, and said something. Many years later, prosperpous advertising executive Joe Doucett's (Josh Brolin) wife is raped and murdered. Doucett himself disappears for twenty years. He is believed to be both criminal and probably dead.

Joe is neither. Spike Lee's Old Boy tells the real story, of which we will say no more. Well, except that, after being locked in a box for twenty years, Joe is one really pissed off dude, determined to exact revenge on whoever is responsible for his captivity. His friend Chucky (Michael Imperioli) owns a bar where he can crash. A lovely social worker (Elizabeth Olsen) befriends him and a character played by Samuel L. Jackson is involved, but we won't say how.

We will say Old Boy is far beyond film student pretentious. That if Spike Lee weren't part of the process; adapting this work from a Korean film, you would probably not be hearing anything about it.

Old Boy is, at times, so incredibly graphically ultra-violent that we, for the first time in twenty years of watching "real" (ie. not slice 'n' dice) films that walk the fine line of violence in story, almost started to feel queasy. Granted, if we were just reviewing the construction of brutal fight sequences we'd be applauding the work but we write for people who pay to watch the movies. This time out, hard to watch is an understatement.

We think Spike Lee is a very talented filmmaker. We usually like his work. The ultra-graphic violence distracts from a twisty turning story that would otherwise have us raving and applauding. We prefer to watch a story unravel without the ultraviolence of the opening minutes bashing at our short term memory cells.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Old Boy, he would have paid . . .


It's awards time, folks. We have far too many movies to watch to do full writeups on anything but the stuff that floors us. Spike Lee, as always, is determined to push buttons of his audience. We usually have no problem with that. This time, we did.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Spike Lee
Click to buy films starring Josh Brolin
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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.