9. Sympathy For Lady Vengeance (2005)
Lee Geum-ja served a lengthy prison sentence for the murder of a young school boy Won-mo. the case is a national sensation due to the lurid nature of the murder and Lee Geum-ja’s young age at the time of the crime. Due to her kindness and good deeds in prison, her sentence is reduced. She is innocent of the murder – forced into confessing by Mr Baek – the real killer who threatened to kill her newborn daughter.
Once out of prison, Geum-ja calls on favours from prison inmates for food, shelter and weapons. She also secures a job in a pastry shop. To distance herself from her kindly image she tarts her appearance up and dreams of killing Mr Baek.
Retrieving her daughter Jenny from Sydney, Geum-ja goes on the hunt for Baek with the assistance of Baek’s wife who is an ex-con too. Baek gets wind of this and attacks his wife and sends kidnappers to get Geum-ja and Jenny. Geum-ja kills both thugs and Mr Baek falls unconscious due to drugs slipped into his drink.
Through her investigating, Geum-ja finds out that Baek is a regular murderer of school children and operates a snuff ring. She imprisons him and contacts the detective from the Won-mo case. They contact the dead children’s parents and they decide to torture and murder Baek just like he tortured and murdered their children. Geum-ja achieves a peace of mind at last.
Not as shocking as the other two films in the Vengeance Trilogy, Lady Vengeance is a beautifully crafted film which is masterfully directed and produced. Geum-ja is a very effective heroine because her motives for vengeance are pure and morally justifiable. If someone made you lose your child and serve 13 and a half years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit, I would say you were justified in seeking vengeance. Especially when you find out that person is a murdering paedophile. And it isn’t an endorsement of vigilantism, Geum-ja contacts the police. Baek gets what people of that ilk deserves.
This article was first posted on March 7, 2013