A deaf mute gets mixed up in organised crime when he tries to procure a kidney for his dying sister.
Park's last film, JSA, was the first true Korean blockbuster and a powerfully simple tale of national division and attempted (symbolic) reunification. His much anticipated follow-up film, which reunites several of his favourite actors, utilises many of the same aesthetic ticks and tricks; but while JSA employed symmetrical compositions as political symbolism, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance feels more like 'art for art's sake'.
The story of a deaf mute who becomes involved in illegal organ transplants, kidnapping, murder and worse is as bizarrely convoluted as it sounds and, whilst open to wide interpretation, it is often hard to summon up the will to care. Bloody and brutal, but wholly lacking compassion, it can only be assumed that the title is intended as deeply ironic. This is but an average film from a potentially great director.
This is but an average film from a potentially great director.