I Saw the Devil (2010)
by Hope Madden
If you’ve seen Korea’s awe-inspiring 2003 export Oldboy, you know actor Min-sik Choi can take a beating. He proves his masochistic mettle again in I Saw the Devil.
Choi plays Kyung-Chul, a predator who picks on the wrong guy’s fiancé.
That grieving fiancé is played by Byung-hun Lee, whose restrained emotion and elegant good looks perfectly offset Choi’s disheveled explosion of sadistic rage, and we spend 2+ hours witnessing their wildly gruesome game of cat and mouse.
Director Jee-woon Kim, working with Hoon-jung Park’s screenplay, breathes new life into the serial killer formula. With the help of two strong leads, he upends the old “if I want to catch evil, I must become evil” cliché. What they’ve created is a percussively violent horror show that transcends its gory content to tell a fascinating, if repellant (and a bit overly long), tale.
Truth be told, beneath the grisly, far-too-realistic violence of this unwholesome bloodletting is an undercurrent of honest human pathos – not just sadism, but sadness, anger, and the most weirdly dark humor. You might even notice some really fine acting and nimble storytelling lurking inside this bloodbath.
I Saw the Devil screens at 4:30 Friday afternoon (8/9). You can also see:
1:30 PM: Mother
7:30 PM: Doomsday Book
10:30 PM: A Tale of Two Sisters
12:00 AM: The Red Shoes