STORY: After being held captive in a room for 20 years, Joe Doucett (Brolin) sets out on an obsessive journey of violent revenge against his anonymous captor. What also keeps him going is the need to make amends with his estranged daughter. REVIEW: Joe embodies just about every offensive trait that an absentee dad who is an alcoholic and a lecherous womanizer, can have. He begins his work day with a fifth of vodka, injects blatant innuendos in every conversation with female co-workers and ends his day as drunk as a skunk, pissing on the streets and rolling in his own vomit.
In short, he is a cringe-inducing wreck. After one episode, he wakes up in a room to find himself held captive. He is fed a diet of dumplings and vodka everyday and only has rodents for company. Via television, he finds out his ex-wife has been murdered and he is the chief suspect. After almost losing his mind, he sees his daughter on a TV news report and realizes his only chance for moral redemption is to find and take care of her. Joe goes cold turkey, does push-ups and cleans up before managing to escape. In the real world, he meets the sexy social worker Marie (Olsen) who adds some muchneeded warmth to his life.
Predictably enough, she falls for him. His buddy Chucky (Imperioli) is also a big help. Lee is known for his bold films, but his remake of Chan-wook Park’s genuinely freaky Oldeuboi lacks the former’s visceral punch. Two scenes – an extended tracking shot of a fight scene involving a hammer and Joe crawling out of a Louis Vuitton trunk in a field while a woman holding a yellow umbrella stands in the background – are surreal. What’s oddest is that at the end of 20 years, Joe looks like he hasn’t even aged 20 days and some of the dialogues are shockingly limp. The film has graphic violence and perversion, but there is no take-away. It leaves you trying to nail down what the point to this remake really was.