Based on the original manga series by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi, Spike Lee (The 25th Hour, The Inside Man, Do The Right Thing) has reimagined the story of Joe Doucette, a man abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for twenty years without any explanation.
The film as a whole is well shot there are some questionable camera angles through the movie which I’d expect from a low budget flick but from a 30 million dollar production I’d expect something much better, the camera angles are almost painting their own picture of confinement which does add to the look and feel of the movie but I felt they could of been done to a more appropriate and professional standard.
Framed for a murder he didn’t commit we stay with Joe as he awakes after a drunken night out locked in what seems to be a motel room prison, food is provided through a catflap in the door, he is locked within this confined space, just him and his thoughts with no explanation as to why he’s there or why he has been framed for this killing.
As his confinement goes from days, to months, to years we slowly see Joe’s decent into madness, Its a one man show for a good proportion of the movie but Josh Brolin’s performance is fantastic, his shift from personality traits, his instant realisation that he is there to stay and the slow decline of every essence of his human self drains before his character and is visually projected to the audience. It is extremely well done and full credit to Josh for this gripping performance.
I think if anyone was kidnapped and put into a motel room with TV, food, alcohol, a nice comfy bed and someone looking after them it wouldn’t be the WORST thing. It makes you wonder what the motives of the captors are. They have kidnapped him ,he cannot escape yet they are treating him, caring for him, keeping him alive. Is the motive a question of power, treating Joe like a caged animal or a metaphor for how Joe has lived his life. A caged shell of a man who is unhappy in his job, treats his ex wife and child like strangers. The film makes you ask more questions than answers them in the opening half of the movie.
As Joe’s character dedicates 20 years his life in captivity to self motivation, exercising, training both mentally and physically he plots his escape only to find himself knocked out and awoken in a field. All of his built up anger and aggression in conjunction with his physical fitness and strength makes him a worthy adversary. Joe is on the war path and he goes on the hunt to find the people who did this to him.
What follows is an all out kick ass rampage of gore, rage and some hyped up release of tension, the movie keeps up this high tempo all the way until the end, Elizabeth Olsen plays a superb part including a very risque nude scene, not such the sweet little innocent actress anymore thats for sure ! In addition Samuel L Jackson is always shining in any role he takes part in no matter how briefly he was actually on screen.
The only problem I had was with Adrian the ‘bad guy’ of the movie, now Sharlto Copley is a superb actor but in this role he just didn’t come across convincing to me, it was a more feminine attribute to his character and it just didn’t come across as menacing in any shape or form, as with both his character and his acting he lets his goons do the work whilst he takes credit for the results. An insight into his character is revealed much later into the story which would explain a rather feminine style attribute but it still didn’t feel all that convincing from my perspective. It was a shame that Sharlto didn’t portray this harrowing killer figure but that is how the story was written, it did the part well to a degree but it was just missing that certain X-Factor.
I haven’t seen the original but this remake stands on its own two feet as a superb stand alone movie, a twist that will make you sick to your stomach but Its clear to see why Universal got on board to help make this movie and what a perfect film to start off our Studio film reviews !
Oldboy is due for release on the 7th of April