Directed by Kim Jee-Woon, South Korean revenge thriller I Saw the Devil is a gripping movie with outstanding performances, incredible visuals and a compelling, emotional story.
I Saw the Devil begins by introducing us to a young woman, Joo-Yeon (San-ha Oh) sitting in her car on a snowy road, waiting for a tow truck to arrive. A seemingly helpful stranger shows up but she gentle denies his aid and sends him on his way. The stranger takes a dislike to her dismissal, kidnapping the young lady and taking her to his destructive lair.
Between her fiancé and her retired police chief father, the brutal being is found out and the hunt between the young lady’s lover Soo-Hyeon (Byung-hun Lee) and Kyung-Chul (Min-sik Choi- Old Boy) begins.
The performances are all brilliantly played and Byung-hun Lee is a revelation as a sort-of anti-hero. He is able to bring a lot of pathos to the role, while being quiet, calculated and stoic at the same time. Choi as Kyung-Chul is yet another perfect performance for Min-sik’s catalog of acting and you dislike his character as much as you are supposed to, but yet admire his persistence at times.
One flaw I do have is the intricate cat-and-mouse game between the two leads. Although it is genuinely suspenseful, it starts to become redundant as for much of the movie it follows this same format.
The climax however is refreshing and made the game worth it all in the end.
Kim Jee-Woon’s I Saw the Devil is an expertly executed movie that puts great emphasis on plot and characters and delivers an outstanding film that is well-worth seeing for those with a strong stomach.
I Saw the Devil goes to some truly dark places and is a dish that is served cold, reheated, picked at, reheated again and then thrown to pack of waiting wolves.
WICKED RATING: 7.5/10 [usr 7.5]
Title: I Saw the Devil
Director(s): Kim Jee-woon
Writer(s): Hoon-jung Park
Stars: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, In-seo Kim
Studio/ Production Co: Softbank Ventures, Showbox/Mediaplex, Peppermint & Company
Sub-Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller