Matthew Maleficent’s review published on Letterboxd:
So I felt the need to rewatch it again, and considering how amazing and intense this film is, it was no trouble at all. I'm going to go ahead and say this is my favorite revenge film ever. Chan Wook Park tops himself yet again with the third installment of the vengeance trilogy.
A woman is released from prison after 13 years for being convicted of killing and kidnapping a 5 year old boy. We soon realize that her attitude of enlightenment and her new religion that were apparent before her release was all just a ruse. She has much more violent and malicious plans all leading up to her killing the man who is truly responsible for the boys death, and her lengthy prison stay.
This movie has such a unique style. It is often compared to Kill Bill, but I think it has much more to offer. I would love to understand the Korean, but it translates very well anyways. It feels like a dark gothic western at many times. The acting is superb from the lead, Yeong-ae Lee. She comes across as an extremely dangerous woman, driven by years of regret that have obviously been boiling inside of her. She is determined and thorough, although we do see her emotional side a few times as well. The flashbacks to her stay in prison which make it more clear exactly how well thought out her plan was really delighted me. It was very nice to see the movie really come together like this, in bits and pieces. It is extremely intriguing, and will keep you captivated from start to finish. The grand finale is nothing short of spectacular. It reached a point where I knew there was still about 45 minutes left, but it seemed as thought the movie was about to end.... but then it gets really good :-P.
The score was phenomenal, it gave such a serious and unique feel to the film. Undeniably Asian, yet it almost reminded me of an Ennio Morricone score. It sets the tone better than most music I have ever experienced in a film. Coupled with the black leather and blood red eyeshadow, and the darkness of Korea in the winter, it made for a truly remarkable experience. This is my favorite film of the Vengeance trilogy (including Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy). Comparing it to Kill Bill doesn't seem quite right, Kill Bill is sillier and meant to be more fun, this movie (although quite a lot of fun) Doesn't play to this at all. It is a far more serious piece of art. Whereas I thought Quentin Tarantino was just messing around, trying to have a good time, it seemed like Chan Wook Park was really trying to make something powerful, and it worked!