In the past week, I’ve finished two interesting works of art that were worth the time to review. One I liked better than the other. Let’s start with the other.
Revival by Stephen King
It’s been a while since I read anything by King, but I’d heard that Revival was Lovecraftian in tone and content, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Let me start by saying that I’ve never read anything by King that I would classify as “bad.” Sometimes the story misses or the idea falls flat, but King is never boring, his characters are always interesting, and he does not fail to keep your attention. But I have to say, Revival was trying at times. And once again, not because it was bad. I was just…off. The horror is a slow burn. A very slow burn. You might even say that the horror doesn’t really get going until 90 percent of the book is itself dead and gone. The book is Lovecraftian, but only in an attenuated way. You won’t notice if you don’t know who Lovecraft is, and you might not notice even if you do. In the end, Revival is a fine book, but it’s just that–fine. Don’t expect a real page turner, and don’t expect it to keep you up at night.
Movie Review: Old Boy (2003)
Now this, on the other hand, is a masterpiece of storytelling and misdirection. And it’s kinda like a book, since it’s in Korean and you have to read it anyway. Old Boy tells the story of a man, kidnapped and held hostage for the better part of two decades. He doesn’t know who kidnapped him–he never sees his captors–or why he is being held. And when he is suddenly released into the world, he doesn’t know why that happened either. The rest of the movie is about him figuring it out.
Old Boy grabs hold from frame one and never lets go. Every action director in America should be forced to watch it, if for no other reason than to learn how to film a fight scene. No herky jerky camera here, just awesomeness.
Old Boy is excessively violent and contains some…uh hmm…mature content, but I would recommend it unreservedly. It’s quite the trip, and you won’t forget it.