In case the ancillary lesson of Oldboy needs to be spelled out, and in case the newly unleashed viral video for Spike Lee’s impending remake of the South Korean classic doesn’t get the point across, there’s nothing glamorous about doing time in a private jail. (Except, maybe, for Samuel L. Jackson’s edgy hairdo.) In just over a minute, the clip showcases the twisted justice money can buy for those with the resources and inclination to pay for it, taking us through the measure of a day in the life of imprisoned protagonist Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin).
It also performs a very odd balancing act, suggesting that Lee’s film will cut close to the bone of Park Chan-wook’s original vision and yet may end being a weirder rendition of that lauded picture at the same time. What we see here is distinctly, recognizably Oldboy, outside of Lee’s own aesthetic flourishes of course; those little touches happen to be the differentiating factor, the details that let the film be Oldboy while also allowing it to be a Spike Lee joint.
For those who still haven’t seen Park’s second entry in his lauded Vengeance trilogy, Oldboy‘s story concerns a man who, after being whisked away on a rainy night and locked up in a grimy, illicitly owned prison for twenty years with no given reason as to why, sets himself on a quest for retribution upon the person who put him behind bars. Lee’s movie will more or less follow the same track, with Brolin taking the lead, Sharlto Copley playing his enemy, and Elizabeth Olsen stepping in as his ally and romantic interest.
Speaking to narrative details, Lee doesn’t appear to have done much to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, but the more footage we see of the film, the more it becomes clear that he’s put his personal touch as a director on the material. His Oldboy looks immensely slick and smooth, exactly what one might expect from a master of his craft, and most of all, it looks like he’s fully embraced the darkness and heightened drama of its plot.
That might be better evidenced in the above photo gallery, though; each image here plays like a cruel joke, manipulating the idea of advertising a hotel for far more malicious purposes. Maybe that’ll alleviate concerns about whether or not Lee can take the film as far as it needs to go, though there’s already been plenty of talk from both Brolin himself and one of the film’s producers on that score. (To say nothing of the red band trailer.)
The big takeaway here is that Lee’s Oldboy might be derivative, it might be a cash-in, and it might be a whole host of other things, but it certainly won’t be bland. The film comes out just two days after Thanksgiving – something to be grateful for – so we’ll find out then. What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is this going to be a worthy remake?
Spike Lee’s Oldboy arrives in US theaters on November 27th, 2013.
Source: Cinema Blend