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Encyclopedia > Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Produced by Studio Box
Written by Park Chan-wook
Lee Jae-sun
Lee Mu-yeong
Lee Yong-jong
Starring Song Kang-ho
Shin Ha-kyun
Bae Doona
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Tartan Films
Release date(s) 2002 (South Korea)
Running time 129 min.
Language Korean
Followed by Oldboy
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile
Korean name
Hangul: 복수는 나의 것
Revised Romanization: Boksuneun Naui Geot
McCune-Reischauer: Poksunŭn Naŭi Kŏt

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a 2002 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook. It is the first part of his "vengeance trilogy" and is succeeded by Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). Image File history File links Size of this preview: 420 × 599 pixels Full resolution (526 × 750 pixel, file size: 165 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) A Korean poster for Sympathy for Mr. ... Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963) is a South Korean director and screenwriter. ... Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963) is a South Korean director and screenwriter. ... Song Kang-ho (송강호) (b. ... Shin Ha-kyun (Hangul: 신하균) (b. ... Bae Doona is a South Korean model and actress born October 11, 1979 in Seoul. ... CJ Entertainment is the largest entertainment company in South Korea. ... Tartan Films, established in 1982, is a United Kingdom-based film distributor. ... This is a list of film-related events in 2002. ... Oldboy (Hangul:올드보이) is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook based on a Japanese manga of the same name, written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. ... Jamo redirects here. ... Hanja is the Korean name for Chinese characters. ... The Revised Romanization of Korean is the official Korean language romanization system in South Korea. ... McCune-Reischauer romanization is one of the two most widely used Korean language romanization systems, along with the Revised Romanization of Korean, which replaced (a modified) McCune-Reischauer as the official romanization system in South Korea in 2000. ... This is a list of film-related events in 2002. ... Motto None (Unofficial: Broadly benefit humankind also translated as Devotion to the welfare of humanity) Anthem Aegukga (Patriotic Hymn) Capital (and largest city) Seoul Official languages Korean Government Presidential republic  -  President Roh Moo-hyun  -  Prime Minister Han Duck-soo Establishment  -  Gojoseon October 3, 2333 BCb   -  Liberation declared March 1, 1919... Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963) is a South Korean director and screenwriter. ... Revenge or vengeance or retribution consists primarily of retaliation against a person or group in response to a perceived wrongdoing. ... Oldboy (Hangul:올드보이) is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook based on a Japanese manga of the same name, written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. ... // February 24 - The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, wins 7 Cesar Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Music and Best Cinematography. ... Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a 2005 South Korean film by director Park Chan-wook, and is the third installment in his trilogy of vengeance themed films, following Oldboy (2003) and Sympathy for Mr. ... This is a list of film-related events in 2005. ...

The original Korean title means "Vengeance is Mine", or "Revenge is Mine", but the alternate English title was ostensibly chosen to avoid confusion with the Japanese film of the same name.

The film was declared the best movie of 2002 by Harry Knowles.[1] Harry Jay Knowles (born December 11, 1971 in Austin, Texas), is an online film critic best known for his movie news and review website, Aint It Cool News. ...



Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.


A young deaf-mute man's failed plot to obtain a kidney for his ailing sister sets in motion a chain of events ending in a series of vengeful murders.


The film opens with a letter written by Ryu, a deaf-mute, being read aloud on a radio show. He explains that his sister needs a kidney, and that he has quit school to get a job at a factory to support her. Later we see Ryu speaking, through a combination of lip reading and sign language, with a doctor who explains the difficulty of finding the new kidney that his sister needs. He had intended to donate his own kidney, but he is not a matching blood type. Radio broadcasts have been a popular entertainment since the 1910s, though popularity has declined a little in some countries since television became widespread. ... It has been suggested that Renal anomalies and Renal plasma threshold be merged into this article or section. ... Sign language interpreter on stage A sign language (also signed language) is a language which uses manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning—simultaneously combining handshapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express fluidly a speakers...

In bed with his girlfriend, a radical leftist named Yeong-mi whom we see typing what appears to be a polemic calling for the deaths of capitalists, he wonders what he can do. The term far left refers to the relative position a person or group occupies within the left-right political spectrum. ... Look up Polemic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Polemic is the art or practice of inciting disputation or causing controversy, for example in religious, philosophical, or political matters. ...

When he is fired from the factory where he works, he contacts a black market organ dealer; if he pays the equivalent of $10,000 (10 million won) and lets them have his kidney, they say, they will find a kidney for his sister. In an abandoned building, he hands them the money and they put him to sleep; he awakes naked, in pain, and missing a kidney. He never hears from them again, and the loss is compounded when the doctor jubilantly reports that a kidney has been found and his sister can have it - but only if Ryu produces $10,000.

He and his girlfriend hatch a scheme to kidnap the daughter of his former boss in order to demand a ransom. However, after witnessing a confrontation involving his boss's neighbor, Park Dong-jin and a former employee, Ryu and Cha Yeong-mi decide that his recent firing would make his involvement in the kidnapping too obvious. Through methods unseen, the duo contrive to kidnap Mr. Park's daughter instead. The girl stays with his sister, who plays with her and keeps the girl from realizing that her father is looking for her. The distraught father agrees to pay the ransom, but when Ryu goes out to collect (leaving Park tied up with a plastic bag over his head) his sister finds Ryu's termination notice and quickly figures out what he has done. Ryu returns to find her floating, wrists slit in the bathtub, leaving behind a note that she no longer wants to be a burden to him.

Original UK DVD cover.
Original UK DVD cover.

Ryu takes the girl and his sister's body into the countryside to bury her by a riverbed, a favourite place of theirs to play when they were both children. While he covers her body with rocks, the little girl falls into the river and drowns. Ryu, hearing nothing, fails to notice until it is too late. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Ryu and Dong-jin swear vengeance on those who have taken their loved ones. Yeong-mi arranges a meeting with the organ dealers, but Ryu goes in instead and slaughters them, taking and eating their kidneys. Meanwhile Dong-jin, having pieced together the mystery of what happened to his daughter, finds Yeong-mi and tortures her with electric shocks that eventually kill her. Before she dies, after telling him how sorry she is and begging him to stop, she claims that she belongs to a terrorist organization and gave them his picture. She warns him that if she dies, he will be killed.

Ryu and Dong-jin stake out each others' homes, each waiting patiently for the other to return. Ryu gives up first, goes back to his apartment, and sees Dong-jin asleep inside. He tries to ambush him, but Dong-jin has electrified the door, knocking Ryu out. Dong-jin captures Ryu and takes him to the spot in the river where his daughter's body was found. With Ryu's hands bound, Dong-jin tells him that he knows he is a good man, but that he has no choice but to kill him. He cuts Ryu's Achilles tendons and he drowns. He then carries his body to the shore. Posterior view of the foot and leg, showing the Achilles tendon (tendo calcaneus). ...

Soon after, however, a group of men pull up in a car and stab Dong-jin to death. As he lays dying in the sun, they pin to his chest a death notice (the polemic Yeong-mi was writing), citing his murder of Yeong-mi. The camera then pans round to show Ryu's clothes next to bloody bags, which presumably hold a dismembered Ryu. Dong-Jin's dying gasps continue for minutes on end through the end credits.

Spoilers end here.


More Plot Spoilers Here

Much of this film is shot with a wide angle lens with some sort of division line in the middle. The shots are very symmetric in terms of spacing and framing. The camera usually stays in one place and is kept at a distance for long takes.

This technique emphasizes the division of attitude from the audience. This film shows two parallel stories. It shows the perspective of both Ryu and Park Dong-jin. The audience sympathizes with both characters as in the end they try to kill each other. By framing it as such, the audience is divided in attitude to who they should sympathize with.

Box Office

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance opened in South Korea on March 29, 2002, and grossed $1,818,524 by April 7.

After the cult success that greeted Oldboy in its North American release, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance received a low-profile North American theatrical release from Tartan beginning August 19, 2005 - over three years after it debuted in South Korea. In its opening weekend, it collected $9,827 ($3,276 per screen) from three New York city theaters. It played on only six screens at its most widespread, and its total North American box office take was $45,243. Oldboy (Hangul:올드보이) is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook based on a Japanese manga of the same name, written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. ...


  • Song Kang-ho - Park Dong-jin
  • Shin Ha-kyun - Ryu
  • Bae Doona - Cha Yeong-mi (Ryu's girlfriend)
  • Lim Ji-eun - Ryu's sister

Song Kang-ho (송강호) (b. ... Shin Ha-kyun (Hangul: 신하균) (b. ... Bae Doona is a South Korean model and actress born October 11, 1979 in Seoul. ...

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