LADY VENGEANCE (Park Chan-wook). 112 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (May 19). For venues and times, see Movies, page 110. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Like its predecessors in Park Chan-wook 's vengeance trilogy, Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy, Lady Vengeance uses the thriller format to deliver solid, complex drama that explores issues of character, society, philosophy and metaphysics.
A confessed child-killer gets out of prison, sheds the angelic behaviour she's shown inside and sets out to kill a man. But she's racked with guilt, desperate for forgiveness and determined to reunite with the daughter she gave up in infancy.
Park stays true to conflicted heroine Lee Geum-ja (well played by Korean star Lee Young-ae ), refusing to provide easy answers. A series of striking images and a lively soundscape give the film a contemplative elegance, engaging our emotions yet never letting us forget the monster Lee has become.
Park keeps a tight grip on the thriller side of his story, giving a hard edge to the ample violence and black humour while nicely avoiding an excess of gore. He even produces a truly shocking third-act plot twist and conclusion that lift the film toward tragedy even as it withholds catharsis.