One of the keys to the sneaky emotional power of Park Chanwook’s “Revenge Trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) is the distance he keeps from his characters. All three films center on characters of complex morality, doing things that are foreign and often shocking to most viewers. Park, however, refuses to either judge or endorse their choices. Instead, he simply records events as they happen, allowing his characters and their actions to speak for themselves.
Such is the case with Lady Vengeance, Park’s follow-up to the showier Oldboy, the film that won him not only the Director’s Prize at Cannes in 2004, but also instant world-wide regard. The film is the story of Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yeong-ae), a lovely young woman who, while still in her teens, was forced by an older man (Oldboy's Choi Min-sik) into confessing to a brutal child-murder she didn’t commit. Through her 13 years in prison, she was revered by her fellow inmates for her kindness, and known to the outside world for her great piety; upon her release, however, Geum-ja coldly begins calling in favors from her former cell-mates, and sets in motion a plan for revenge that has been in the works for all those long years in jail.