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#1
Old 02-12-2006, 12:41 PM
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Why did Oh Dae-su do this at the end of "Old Boy"? (Warning, spoilers.)

I just watched the fiendishly-difficult-to-find Korean import, "Old Boy," and while the show was really great overall, one part totally confounded me. Why in the world did Oh Dae-su cut off his tongue? He had no reason to do so at all, and it seemed completely random. Any light you could shed would be great.
#2
Old 02-12-2006, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speaker for the Dead
I just watched the fiendishly-difficult-to-find Korean import, "Old Boy," and while the show was really great overall, one part totally confounded me. Why in the world did Oh Dae-su cut off his tongue? He had no reason to do so at all, and it seemed completely random. Any light you could shed would be great.
Wasn't he told to by the evil guy? Or did he do it to appease him? I can't remember that part in that much detail.
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#3
Old 02-12-2006, 01:29 PM
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I haven't seen the film lately, but as I recall he there were a few layers here. He was showing that he understood the harm his gossip (long forgotten by him) had caused to his tormentor and doing violent penance (if thine eye offends thee...) Also he was desperately trying to appease 'evil guy' so that his daughter/lover would not be shown the photo album in the box. What's also implied is that he is promising to himself and to her that he will never tell the secret. The visit to the hypnotist in the coda is an affirmation of this.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:59 PM
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I've seen a few Japanese movies where guys (usually Yakuza) cut off a finger as penance to their boss for a mistake. In Ichi the Killer...
SPOILER:
when an underling (albeit a masochistic one) is told that a finger "wouldn't do it this time," he cut's off his tongue.


So, maybe the tongue thing is at least established as something extreme you do to appease someone.
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporate Hippie
I've seen a few Japanese movies where guys (usually Yakuza) cut off a finger as penance to their boss for a mistake. In Ichi the Killer...
SPOILER:
when an underling (albeit a masochistic one) is told that a finger "wouldn't do it this time," he cut's off his tongue.


So, maybe the tongue thing is at least established as something extreme you do to appease someone.
Close enough, but The Lovely Margo Lane pretty much nailed it.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gozu Tashoya
Close enough, but The Lovely Margo Lane pretty much nailed it.

Yup, I agree that The Lovely Margo Lane explained Oh Dae-su's motivation perfectly, but I got the feeling that the OP might have found the particular method of Oh Dae-su's penance (cutting off the tongue) to be rather random. I just thought I'd mention that there appears to be some precedent in other asian cinema.
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Old 02-12-2006, 04:28 PM
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With Margo's explanation, it feels a lot less random. Thank you.
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:20 AM
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Glad I could help. The first time I saw it I had the same question- it just seemed too random. I was really affected by the story, though, so I did a lot of puzzling about it and picked up a lot more when I saw it again a year later.

Corporate Hippie, that's a good point about 'Ichi the Killer'- that also ties in with the hand amputation. I suppose I never thought about it because I see Chan-Wook Park's stuff as being fundamentally different than a lot of the Japanese super-gore. He seems to be telling stories about pain and loss, but also profound love and sacrifice ('Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance,' anyone?) with the violence underscoring the emotional aspects of the work. On the other hand, Takashi Miike (for example) seems more calculated and methodical with what he's trying to do to the viewer.
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