The classic 3 act structure does not appear to have a definitive definition amongst writers/analysts because in many cases writers/analysts all have very different ideas regarding the structure of story. “Since screenplays never show act breaks, an "act" is really a theoretical concept. Screenwriters talk about three acts, meaning the beginning, the middle, and the end.” (Johnaugust.com/glossary, John August, 2003). The rest is very much up for personal interpretation. From what I can understand during my study of the 3 act structure I believe that Oldboy (Park Chan-Wook, 2003) Is best described using Syed Field’s interpretation of an act structure. I can see the hook or inciting incident, the 1st act plot point, the midpoint, the 2nd act plot point and then resolution. So what I intend to do in this essay is to break down Oldboy into these five sections and try to explain how each part is used to develop the story and keep the lead character moving towards his overall goal.
Oldboy is traditionally a revenge movie. Our hero Oh Dae-Su is captured and imprisoned for 15 years and once released he sets out to get revenge on the man who locked him up. The antagonist, the man who Oh Dae-Su wishes to kill is also out to get revenge, revenge on Oh Dae-Su who, when still at school, witnessed the antagonist, Lee Woo-Jin, having sexual contact with his own blood sister. This in turn triggers a tragic event in which Woo-Jin’s sister is forced to commit suicide rather than live with the rumors of incest. The great twist in the tale comes in the form of the beautifully innocent Mi-Do who is the love interest for Dae-Su who is later revealed to be his own grown up, forgotten about, 20 something year old daughter. The coming together of Oh Dae-Su and Mi-Do in a sexual relationship is completely pre planned and manipulated from the shadows by Lee Woo-Jin. This is Lee Woo-Jin’s act of revenge.
These opening scenes are what is sometimes referred to as the inciting incident, ‘this is the point in the story when the Protagonist encounters the problem that will change their life.’(Abundant Productions LLC,