I Saw The Devil (2010)
Dir. Jee-woon Kim – 144 minutes
Before seeing this all I knew about this film was it was directed by Jee-woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters , A Bittersweet Life) and that it starred the legend Min-sik Choi (Oldboy). So finding it on BluRay I decided to pick this up.
And wow this is a superb revenge thriller , hugely violent , very gory and brilliantly acted.
It starts with Joo-yeon (San-ha Oh) the daughter of a retired Police Chief braking down in the snow in her car. She calls for a tow truck and while waiting she is attacked and taken away.
Next she is stripped and laid out in what looks like a dungeon , her attacker Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi) ties her arms. She begs for her life and tells Kyung she is pregnant. And of course being a psychotic serial killer he kills her and disposes of the body.
After the discovery of her body (well bits of it and a head) her fiance Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee) a secret agent decides to seek revenge. So taking two weeks off work he embarks on a deadly game of cat and mouse with Kyung.
This is undoubtedly one of the most savage and ferocious pieces of cinema I have seen , and while not classed as a horror film this truly does shock and at times is very uncomfortable viewing.
Choi is undoubtedly the star of the show with a chilling performance that goes from calm to wide eyed maniac in an instant but in a really convincing manner.
Lee plays the straight-laced agent very well but (probably with anyone acting alongside Choi) he at times is a little pedestrian and underwhelming. Although throughout the film he does portray a man starting to resemble the man he hates the most with real aplomb.
Beautifully shot , but not for a person who is easily put off by prolonged and intense violence against men and women alike .
At 144 minutes I thought this around 30 minutes to long, and the storyline is very predictable at times. But that said it is still a great piece of Korean cinema and very enjoyable.
A fantastic 7/10