Katie and I had a chance to see a private pre-screening of [Old Boy]( “IMDB listing”) tonight, thanks to our lovely friends at [Gothamist](

Short synopsis before I get going: Oh Dae-Su, a man with a reputation for getting drunk and womanizing, is mysteriously imprisoned in a fake hotel room for 15 years, living on fried dumplings and TV only. After the 15 years are up, he finds himself awake on a roof. He is given fancy clothes, a cell, and money. But what his captor has waiting for him after his release – while Oh Dae-Su plots his revenge – may be far worse than his imprisonment.

I can’t remember the last time I came out of a movie feeling so emotionally drained – it’s like my soul got in a fight with the movie and lost.

The acting was fantastic for all the key characters, especially the two leads. Choi Min-sik, who plays Oh Dae-su, has *huge* range, and the acting muscle he shows in the last 20 minutes leaves me unable to even find one person in US cinema to compare him to. Yu Ji-Tae, playing his captor/tormentor, comes off as genuinely evil without descending into camp to get the point across.

Somewhere in here is the single best fight scene I’ve ever witnessed that wasn’t boosted by special effects. There’s also some well-timed black humor, more than sufficient character development, and more than enough twists and turns that you’ll get slack-jawed at least once. (And in the good-for-Dan department, there weren’t enough plot holes to make me deconstruct the whole thing after the fact.)

People who have been reading my blog for long enough know I don’t write a lot of movie reviews. I save the indivudual movie posts for one of two cases – a [really good movie](, or a [really poor movie]( Oldboy completely falls on the side of the good movies, and until further notice is my Favorite Movie Of 2005.

Check out [the trailer](, and be sure to catch it when it opens in the immediate future.