"THE MOST IMPRESSIVE MOVIE OF ITS KIND TO HIT CHICAGO SINCE DE PALMA'S 'PASSION'"
I saw Spike Lee's Oldboy a couple of weeks ago. While I prefer Chan-wook Park's original (which I revisited again right after seeing the remake), Lee's film is a stylistic tour de force, with some nice personal touches. In his review of Lee's film, the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs links it stylistically to Brian De Palma's Passion.
"Taken as stylistic exercise," writes Sachs, "Spike Lee's remake of Oldboy... may be the most impressive movie of its kind to hit Chicago since Brian De Palma's Passion. Lee ornaments the film with elaborate tracking shots, theatrical lighting schemes, and multitiered compositions containing screens within screens. He shifts dramatically between 35-millimeter, 16-millimeter, and even 8-millimeter film, and playfully disregards conventional flashbacks, editing, and good taste. Regardless of whether Lee succeeds here as a storyteller, he communicates such pleasure in the filmmaking process that you might appreciate it for the showmanship alone.
"Full of gruesome acts of revenge and dirty family secrets, the film is a sick extravaganza comparable to recent efforts by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and Danny Boyle (Trance), but it's a more controlled work than either. The directorial curlicues don't feel random—indeed, the film has a sustained, streamlined momentum that feels unlike much else in Lee's body of work. The Brooklyn-based director has never lacked for energy or imagination, but his movies tend to be all over the place in terms of what they want to say and do. To see him working with such focus is striking. If the movie is just an exercise, then at least it's a purposeful one. Lee's trying new things here, working in a different register than he normally does."