I Saw the Devil (2010)
A word of warning before viewing I Saw the Devil. The film contains graphic content, gore, and nudity, so let’s keep the kids away from this one. Jee-woon Kim’s I Saw the Devil continues his descent into family, loss, and the distance one is willing to go for loved ones as he did in his mind bending mystery, A Tale of Two Sisters. I Saw the Devil is lead by Byung-hun Lee (The Good, the Bad, the Weird), Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) and the man behind the camera is the previously mentioned Jee-woon Kim.
Jang Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi) is a notorious serial killer and psychopath who’s victims are for the majority young woman and children. When Jang Kyung-chul murders a young woman, he has no idea what he has gotten himself into this time. The young woman turns out to be the daughter of a police chief and is the wife to be of secret agent Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee). Kim Soo-hyeon decides to track down Jang Kyung-chul in a personal mission of vengeance and terror. Kim Soo-hyeon succumbs to the inhumane, malicious traits of the murderous in order to torture and manipulate Jang Kyung-chul so that he may feel the same pain that poisons him.
For the record, I Saw the Devil has one of the best choreographed murder scenes to date. The scene has the payoff, a fast paced, blood spraying knife fight, but it is the tension built before hand that is the real cause of a cinematic heart attack. I cannot think of anyone better to play a serial killer other than Min-sik Choi (I mean that in the best possible way). Choi’s no remorse, no compassion approach sums up what everyone fears about humanity. Choi’s justification of his characters madness, lust, and indifference is impeccably displayed by slight facial expressions and his serene, isolated calmness. Choi injects the character with the need to not fear terror because he is the terror everyone fears. Byung-hun Lee infuses a fresh take on vengeance and raises questions about love and the extent it could possibly drive everyday people to with his performance. The contempt and empty love Lee displays is abundantly present in his performance as he deploys a “no regrets” lifestyle. Jee-woon Kim captures the disgusting, brutal effect of death and the eternal anguish it causes on loved ones. Kim’s direction of murder is on point with the insane and passionless act it appears to be for those driven to it or the ones who cannot control themselves.
I Saw the Devil: 8 out of 10.