I Saw the Devil (2010)

Abandon all compassion.

http://www.isawthedevilmovie.com/

Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has committed infernal serial murders in diabolic ways that one cannot even imagine and his victims range from young women to even children. The police have chased him for a long time, but were unable to catch him. One day, Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state. Her fiance Soo-hyun, a top secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself. He promises himself that he will do everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the killer, even if it means that he must become a monster himself to get this monstrous and inhumane killer.

Brutal South Korean film about a serial rapist/killer (Min-sik Choi, Oldboy) who picks on the wrong girl when he kills and chops up the pregnant fiancee of a government secret agent (Byung-hun Lee, A Bittersweet Life, The Good, The Bad, The Weird) who proceeds to track him down, beat him to a pulp, place a tracking device on him, give him some money and release him. The idea being that he wants the killer to suffer and suffer and suffer, again and again, until his fear is as great as that of his victims, before he kills him.
I Saw The Devil is not without its faults; at almost two-and-a-half hours, it's too long, the brutal nature of the characters threatens to slide into absurdity especially when our killer takes refuge with a cannibalistic mate who doesn't mind his wife being raped (she doesn't mind, either; I guess your standards slip when your old man eats people for shits & giggles), and the concept of getting this serial rapist/killer to a point of sheer terror, like his victims - is flawed; this guy, as played by Min-sik Choi, is NEVER going to feel any fear. And so it is, by the end, rendering the whole catch/release premise redundant. That said, it's gripping, it's tense throughout much of the runtime, the lead performances are superb, it's astonishingly violent and gory, but it's meted out just right; more Seven than Saw, and it is photographed exquisitely. A serial killer movie bordering on torture porn, set in Korea in the snow, shouldn't logically have a colour palette this vivid, but every frame is just beautiful.

Softbank Ventures, Peppermint&company, Siz Entertainment, Showbox by Jee-woon Kim, Hoon-jung Park.
Stars: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Joon-hyuk Lee, Gook-hwan Jeon.

Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Horror, Thriller

Keywords: cemetery police chief secret agent psychopath revenge murder dark comedy serial killer severed head mercilessness cannibalism

08/12/2010

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