Podcast: Josh Brolin in Spike Lee's Oldboy Remake and Turkey Day Recommendations
Download this week's Voice Film Club podcast before you get on the plane or maybe listen to it on your way to a restaurant where you'll eat turkey and get a little drunk on red wine.
Photo by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle - © 2012 - OB Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.
"I was appalled and disappointed," says Village Voice film critic Stephanie Zacharek of Spike Lee's Oldboy on this week's Voice Film podcast. "I love [Park Chan-wook's] original and watching Spike Lee's version, there were big differences I was picking up on.
"Then I went back and looked at the original and saw how operatic it was. The problem with Spike Lee's version is that there is no poetry in Josh Brolin's performance. I thought, 'this thing is just dead.'"
"[Brolin's] got something -- but he just doesn't have what this movie needs," Stephanie says.
See also: Jointmaker: Almost 25 Years After Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee Releases His First "Film"
Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl says the film was just "fundamentally uninteresting" while the original feels so "alive and strange." He found the movie "deeply disappointing and even somewhat depressing, but even a bad Spike Lee movie has something strange and odd." Lee has made a "localized, bland version of Oldboy," that has violent images without meaning.
"In Park's movie, the original, it's incredibly violent, but he cuts away very judiciously," Stephanie notes. The Lee version has violence that is artless, she adds.
L.A. Weekly's Amy Nicholson also laments Lee's exclusion of the "octopus scene," such a memorable visual from the original film that gets cut.
"I was wondering, 'what's going to be the American equivalent of Josh Brolin going into a restaurant and going fucking crazy?' And you don't see it. You see an octopus on the side of a fish tank. That's the only homage."
Alan does drop in a recommendation for Lee's better He Got Game, especially the film's opening scenes about basketball across America. And of course, Do the Right Thing, maybe the best movie of the past 25 years -- but probably not a good choice for family viewing during Thanksgiving.