Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

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Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Promotional release poster
Hangul복수 나의
Hanja復讐는 나의 것
Revised RomanizationBoksuneun Naui Geot
McCune–ReischauerPoksunŭn Naŭi Kŏt
Directed byPark Chan-wook
Produced byIm Jin-gyu
Written byPark Chan-wook
Lee Jae-soon
Lee Moo-young
Lee Yong-jong
StarringSong Kang-ho
Shin Ha-kyun
Bae Doona
Music byBaik Hyun-jhin
Jang Young-gyu
CinematographyKim Byung-il
Edited byKim Sang-bum
Studio Box
Distributed byCJ Entertainment
Tartan Films
Release date
  • March 29, 2002 (2002-03-29)
Running time
129 minutes
Box officeUS$1,954,937[1]

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Korean복수는 나의 것; RRBoksuneun Naui Geot; lit. "Vengeance Is Mine") is a 2002 South Korean action thriller film[2][3] directed and co-written by Park Chan-wook. The film follows a young man trying to earn enough money for his sister's kidney transplant and the path of vengeance that follows. It is the first film in Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy and is followed by Oldboy (2003) and Lady Vengeance (2005).


Ryu is a deaf-mute man working in a factory. His ailing sister is in desperate need of a kidney transplant, but Ryu's is not a match. After he loses his job, Ryu contacts a black market organ dealer to exchange one of his kidneys for one his sister can use. However, the dealers disappear after taking Ryu's kidney and money.

A donor is found, but Ryu can't afford the operation. To raise money, Yeong-mi, Ryu's radical anarchist girlfriend, suggests kidnapping the daughter of the executive that fired Ryu. To avoid suspicion, they kidnap Yu-sun, the young daughter of the executive's friend Dong-jin. Yu-sun stays with Ryu's sister, who believes Ryu is babysitting her. Ryu and Yeong-mi collect the ransom from Dong-jin, but Ryu's sister discovers their plan and, no longer wanting to be a burden, commits suicide.

Ryu takes Yu-sun and his sister's body to a suburban riverbed they frequented as children to bury her. Distracted by the burial and unable to hear, Ryu is unaware when Yu-sun slips into the river, and she drowns.

As Dong-jin mourns his daughter, he hires an investigator to find her kidnappers. Dong-jin finds Yeong-mi and tortures her. She apologizes for Yu-sun's death but warns Dong-jin that her terrorist friends will kill him if she dies. Unfazed, Dong-jin electrocutes her. After Ryu murders the organ dealers, he returns to Yeong-mi's apartment and sees the police removing her corpse.

Dong-jin knocks Ryu unconscious with a booby trap. He takes Ryu to the riverbed where his daughter died, slashes his Achilles tendons and waits for him to bleed to death. After he dismembers Ryu's corpse, Yeong-mi's terrorist associates arrive. They stab Dong-jin, pin a note to his chest, and leave him to die.


  • Song Kang-ho as Park Dong-jin, President of a manufacturing company and friend of Ryu's employers and the father of Yu-sun.
  • Shin Ha-kyun as Ryu, a deaf-mute factory worker trying to pay his sister's hospital bills.
  • Bae Doona as Cha Yeong-mi, Ryu's girlfriend of several years, and a member of an underground anarchist organization.
  • Han Bo-bae as Yu-sun, Dong-jin's young daughter who is kidnapped.
  • Im Ji-eun as Ryu's sister, who is in need of a kidney transplant, but afraid of becoming a burden.
  • Lee Dae-yeon as Choi, the investigator hired by Dong-jin to find his daughter's kidnappers.
  • Ryoo Seung-bum as Retarded Boy at the Lake
  • Ryoo Seung-wan as Food Delivery Boy at Cha's apartment
  • Oh Kwang-rok as Anarchist (who appears at the end of the film)
  • Lee Kan-hee as Park Dong-jin's ex-wife (cameo)
  • Jung Jae-young as Husband of Dong-jin's ex-wife (cameo)
  • Masashi Fujimoto as Peng, a Japanese man who has financial problems with Dong-Jin.


Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance opened in South Korea on March 29, 2002 and had a worldwide box office gross of US$1,954,937.[1] Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance received a low-profile North American theatrical release from Tartan Films beginning August 19, 2005, over three years after it debuted in South Korea. In its opening weekend, it collected US$9,827 (US$3,276 per screen) from three New York City theaters. It played on six screens at its most widespread, and its total North American box office take was US$45,243.[1]

Bobo Deng from HDFest complimented the director on his visuals and the gruesome effects, stating that although the film has extreme violence, it is used to help develop the story.[4] Elaine Perrone from eFilmCritic commented on the cinematography of Kim Byung-il, saying that the film is "far more visually striking" than its successor Oldboy.[5]


2002 Busan Film Critics Awards[6]
2002 Chunsa Film Art Awards
  • Best Music - Baik Hyun-jhin and Jang Young-gyu (UhUhBoo Project)
2002 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards
2002 Korean Film Awards
  • Best Cinematography - Kim Byung-il
  • Best Editing - Kim Sang-bum
  • Best Lighting - Park Hyun-won
2002 Director's Cut Awards


In January 2010, Warner Bros. acquired the right for an American remake of the film.[7] Brian Tucker was attached to write the screenplay, to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, in a team-up with CJ Entertainment.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  2. ^ "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) - Park Chan-wook". AllMovie.
  3. ^ "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  4. ^ Bobo Deng. "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance – Park Chan-Wook". Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  5. ^ Elaine Perrone. "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance". Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  6. ^ "Sympathy for Mr Vengeance". Cinemasie. Retrieved 2014-03-17.
  7. ^ Steve Barton (7 January 2010). "Warner Has Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  8. ^ Michael Fleming (6 January 2010). "WB wants Vengeance". Variety. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
  9. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (20 May 2013). "Cannes: Park Chan-wook's Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance Getting Remake". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2014-07-18.

External links[edit]