Each month, I will give you three movie titles that can be found on Netflix and give reason as to why they are worth your time.
Lucas, a lonely elementary school teacher who enjoys his friends and his job, is an admirable man to most people in town. His best friend’s daughter, Klara, is a student of his and one day, after being shown pornographic pictures by her brother and stumbling on a confusing topic by inappropriate means, she creates a falsehood in her mind that involves Lucas conducting sexual acts in front of her. Immediately, the audience is aware this is not true. But once Klara tells another teacher and colleague of Lucas the story, there is no stopping the mob mentality of a town set out to protect its children.
From there we watch a man’s life deteriorate and there is no defense he can make for himself that doesn’t harm him further. “The Hunt” is graphic in its language, but the most admirable thing about this movie is that it doesn’t need words at all. The actors and director make a brilliant film that, if there were no sound to it, the audience would still be able to recognize and move with the story solely based on actions and reactions from the characters. Many films need dialogue to tell the story and while dialogue can be paramount in good storytelling, there is much beauty and simplicity to be found in films such as “The Hunt.
“Blue Ruin” tells the story of a man who has his life in shambles after the murder of his mother and father. His parents’ killer is set free from prison only after serving a minimal sentence, and what follows is the story of a semi-heroic man attempting to enact what he feels is a justified revenge.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to call this an underdog story. The hero in this film is faulted on more than one degree. Our main hero, Dwight, is introduced as a homeless man living in his car and bathing in other people’s housed houses. Once the news of his parent’s killer comes to him, he isn’t enraged. He’s worried, as one would be. Throughout the film there is a lingering uncertainty in Dwight’s mind about his next step toward fulfillment of his revenge.
Classic revenge films come in many genres but often suffer from the lack of a logical outcome. It’s awfully riveting to see Clint Eastwood blast through a saloon in a matter of seconds without a scratch on him. But where is the realistic tension? Now, don’t get me wrong, reality can be excruciatingly boring. But that’s why we have movies, so we can watch the exciting parts and cut out the boring ones. But let’s not lose sight of how exciting reality can be under the right circumstances. “Blue Ruin” is a slow burn but ignites like wildfire along the way.
This is not the 2013 Spike Lee atrocity of the same name. As much admiration as I have for Spike Lee, I think there is perfect reason to forget he ever directed that remake, especially when the 2003 Park Chan-wook version is simply masterful.
“Oldboy” is yet another tale of revenge but with unforgettable scenes of mystery and romance, beautifully choreographed fight scenes, and disturbing notions that will leave you chilled long after the film is over. Oh Dae?su is locked away in a room with his captors unknown to him and his reason for being there also a mystery. After fifteen years of torturous confinement, he is released from his imprisonment and begins on a path toward the truth. However, our hero finds himself in a web of deception and guilt that only the truth will release him from, if his tormentor allows it.
“Oldboy” is a Korean film that is one of the few gems that Americans seem to enjoy subjecting themselves to. Much like that of Japanese horror films, Korean films seem to have an unrestricted desire to shock the audience in deeply unsettling ways. “Oldboy” is endlessly watchable and demands repeat viewings…if you can stomach it.