Sunday, October 30, 2016

Movie Review: "I Saw the Devil" (2010)

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Director: Jee-woon Kim
Year: 2010
Rating: NR
Running Time: 2 hours, 21 minutes

A secret service agent takes revenge on the serial killer who murdered his wife.

"I Saw the Devil" is directed by Jee-woon Kim, who has gone on to direct films like "The Last Stand" and "The Age of Shadows." It stars Byung-hun Lee as Kim Soo-hyeon, a secret service agent whose wife is murdered by serial killer Kyung-chul, played by Min-sik Choi. After learning of his wife's brutal murder, Kim sets out of a quest for revenge against her killer.

Jee-woon Kim does a brilliant, horrific job of crafting a compelling revenge thriller. Its premise might seem simple, but it is tremendously executed. It is horrific for many reasons. First, in the mind of Kim Soo-hyeon, simply killing his wife's murderer or seeing him behind bars is not good enough for him. Because of this, he sets out to capture him, beat him, and torture him, only to release him and do it all over again. As if that isn't disturbing enough, Kyung-chul tries to continue his raping and killing spree at the same time he is being hunted. At one point, he shacks up with a fellow serial killer who is also a cannibal. As Kim Soo-hyeon chases and stalks Kyung-chul, eventually, he is bound to slip up and give him the upper-hand, which will lead to a showdown of epic, terrible proportions.

"I Saw the Devil" is a bloody, ultra violent film. Beyond the graphic nature of its visuals, it manages to be an engaging drama about a man working through his grief using revenge as his method to cope. It is emotionally impactful, often very exciting, and at the same time, repellent, cringe-worthy, and difficult to watch. Byung-hun Lee puts on an amazing performance, not only offering a stellar showing in the action elements, but also in a very layered, nuanced performance. Min-sik Choi also does a fantastic job. He is no stranger to these types of movies containing extremely graphic and disturbing subject matters. We've seen him before on the other side of the revenge equation in "Old Boy," but here, he shows he can take a beating just as well as he can dish it out. Both of these men are convincing, but it's Min-sik Choi's tour-de-force performance as this psychopathic sadist that puts the film as a whole over the top in greatness.

We often say "XYZ movie is not for the masses," and we truly mean it when we say this about "I Saw the Devil." It is also not for the faint of heart, but for those who dare brave the journey into this shocking, repulsive, but enjoyable bloody mess of a drama, it is certainly a horrific treat.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were being scared by: "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"

Two years ago, we were being scared by: "Feast"

Three years ago, we were being scared by: "Black Sunday"

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