Film / Oldboy (2013)

Oldboy is a 2013 film directed by Spike Lee, and a remake of the famed Korean film from 2003.note  It follows advertising executive Joe Doucett as he is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment.

The film stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Michael Imperioli, and Samuel L. Jackson. It was released on October 25, and the trailer can be seen here (NSFW).

Besides tropes already featured in the 2003 film, this film features examples of:

  • Gender Flip: The bodyguard of Adrian's counterpart in the original Korean film was a man, here she's a woman.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: When Joe realizes he's been manipulated into incest with his daughter he has one of these.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Joe is a sexist alcoholic schmuck, but as we see over the course of the plot most of his misdeeds from from thoughtlessness, not evil and he DOES have a line he won't cross.
  • Karma Houdini: Chaney keeps his business, receives a big cash bribe for sparing Joe, and gets a fortune in diamonds from Joe in the end.
  • Kick the Dog: At one point during his captivity, Joe catches and befriends a mouse. Later, after the mouse has given birth to a litter it is killed and served to Joe as a meal.
  • Mook Chivalry: When Joe fights his way out of the abandoned factory after interrogating Chaney. Unlike the original, the fight does not take place in a narrow hallway.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Joe Doucett goes into a Chinese restaurant, trying to find the source of the dumplings he ate for 20 years, the camera lingers on an octopus in a fish tank. This is a nod to the original and the famous scene where Oh Dae-su eats a live octopus.
    • Joe interacts with a woman wearing angel wings. This is a reference to Oh Dae-su's first scene, where he drunkenly puts on angel wings he bought for his daughter.
    • The severed tongue is a reference to Oh Dae-su cutting off his tongue.
  • The Oner: The "hallway" fight.
  • Pater Familicide: Part of Adrian's backstory is that he is a survivor of this.
  • Pet the Dog: Joe befriends a mouse he finds in his bathroom and makes a pet of it growing quite attatched to it, showing that while he was/is an odious and thoughtless person he is not truly evil.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Joe stops drinking alcohol, exercises and practices fighting while being held captive. He's in much better shape 20 years later.
  • Product Placement: There are several shots of iPhones and MacBooks, Chucky teaches Joe how to use Google, and Marie uses Shazam to identify a ringtone.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Adrian definitely comes off as this, even more so than his counterpart in the Korean film.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Subverted. Joe smashes the mirror because he wants to cut his wrists with the broken glass of it during his 20 years captivity.
  • Shout-Out: Spike Lee's brother Cinqué Lee plays a bellboy in this movie just as he did in the Jim Jarmusch film Mystery Train.
  • Wham Shot: While not played up as one, the reveal that Chaney has got a dozen other people imprisoned in the same overly elaborate fashion is going to hit some people.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After droppin' a hundred punks and finally getting that knife out of his back, Joe barely stumbles out of Chaney's place... and is immediately picked up by Adrian's people.