Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) was just going about his drunken business when he was kidnapped and thrown into a locked hotel room for 15 years, with nothing but a television for company. Then, without warning, he’s suddenly released back into the world and told he has five days to discover why he was imprisoned in the first place: if he succeeds, his captor will kill himself, if he fails, his captor will kill the only woman who treated Oh Dae-su with kindness.
Director Park Chan-wook’s manga adaptation boasts a bizarre set-up and a breathlessly desperate lead performance, and the journey Oh Dae-su takes goes in horrifically unusual directions. The one-take fight scene in a hallway, where our hero fights off an army of killers using only a hammer, is the most famous scene in Oldboy, but the finale is the part that will really stick in your craw. Over the top and ruthless and unexpectedly poignant, Oldboy is one of the most unforgettable thrillers. (The American remake? Not so much.)