'Oldboy' serves up gritty revenge for Thanksgiving audience

Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:33pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Holiday movies are often filled with feel-good messages and festive cheer, but as the United States whets its appetite for the Thanksgiving weekend, psychological drama "Oldboy" attempts to serve up a platter of old-fashioned revenge.

"Oldboy," based on Korean director Park Chan-wook's 2003 film of the same name, tells the story of Joe Doucett, an alcoholic washout who is kidnapped and held in a small motel room for 20 years, then released back into society. He embarks on a ruthless journey for answers and revenge.

The theme of revenge is what director Spike Lee said enticed him to re-imagine Park's dark, twisted art house film that featured extreme violence, torture and incest.

"Everyone has felt slighted. Some slights are bigger, some stuff you can let slide and some stuff you can take to the grave," Lee said. "That's why the revenge genre (in film) has always been a staple, because you can live off your revenge through somebody else."

The film, released in U.S. theaters on Wednesday, stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley and serves up a paranoid-filled cinematic alternative over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend.

Brolin, 45, who plays Joe Doucett, compared the film's story to a more classic theatrical production, particularly Greek tragedies that contemplate man's place in the universe.

"This role was the most operatically challenging. Just the tone of it was very strange and we were trying to find the balance between exaggeration and reality and being organic," the actor said.

"I thought, 'Anything goes. No matter how embarrassed I feel, it really doesn't matter. It's all about exposing, especially in the motel room," he added.   Continued...

Film director Spike Lee poses during the making of his film, "Miracle at St. Anna", at Piazza del Popolo in downtown Rome, November 28, 2007. REUTERS/Remo Casilli