Park Chan-wook (born August 23, 1963) is an acclaimed Korean filmmaker best known for his film adaptation of Oldboy. The film Joint Security Area instantly made him one of his homecountry's most beloved directors and he has since then made several more films that met with great commercial success and critical acclaim, no thanks to Quentin Tarantino giving his work the Colbert Bump.
His style is marked by explicit violence and sexuality interwoven with tragedy akin to William Shakespeare (he has stated that Shakespeare is one of his influences) and truckloads of black humor. Not exactly something for the kids.
- The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream (1992)
- Trio (1997)
- Judgment (1999; short)
- Joint Security Area (2000)
- Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
- If You Were Me (2003; segment "Never Ending Peace and Love")
- Oldboy (2003)
- Three... Extremes (2004; segment "Cut")
- Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)
- I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)
- Thirst (2009)
- Stoker (2013) his only English-language film to date
- The Handmaiden (2016)
- The Little Drummer Girl (2018) TV adaptation of John le Carré's book of the same name, which stars Florence Pugh as the titular girl.
- Decision To Leave (2022)
- The Brigands of Rattlecreek (TBA)
Tropes common in his works:
- Anti-Hero: Especially present in the Vengeance Trilogy, but not unheard of in his other works.
- Beware the Nice Ones: A meta example. Park seems to be quiet and thoughtful himself and has emphasized his antipathy to any kind of violence on several occasions, still his movies deal with disturbing topics and don't shy from graphic depictions of cruelty.
- Bittersweet Ending/Downer Ending: His movies tend to end either way.
- Black Comedy: Loads of it.
- Central Theme: For the Vengeance Trilogy it's Revenge Is Not Justice; characters loose everything in the pursuit of payback.
- Creator Backlash: He has stated several times that he is embarrassed about his first two features The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream and Trio.
- Empathic Environment: In nearly every scene of every movie.
- From Bad to Worse: Especially (but not limited to) his revenge movies.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The point of the Vengeance Trilogy, obviously.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Perhaps due to his Old Shame for The Moon Is... and Trio, both are lacking in availability but can be found on YouTube.
- Production Posse: He often collaborates with Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun and Choi Min-sik. Chung-hoon Chung has been his cinematographer since Oldboy
- The Quiet One: The man himself as well as some of his protagonists, especially Ryu in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (he's deaf-mute) and Sang-hyung in Thirst.
- Revenge: His Vengeance Trilogy thoroughly explores this theme from several angles.
- Sibling Team: Park Chan-wook and his brother Park Chan-kyong (an artist himself) have collaborated on two shorts (Night Fishing and Day Trip) under the name of PARKing CHANce.
- So My Kids Can Watch: One of the reasons why he made I'm a Cyborg was so his daughter would be able to see one of his films.
- Thematic Series: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
- Violence Is Disturbing: Is it ever!
Tropes commonly Subverted in his works include:
- Gorn: As heavy on violence as his films may be, it always has meaning within the plot.
- High-Pressure Blood
- Overdrawn At The Bloodbank