This weekend's review is running a little late but I Saw The Devil is more than worth the wait. Originally reviewed for Dvdsnapshot, this was a real treat - one amazingly violent movie, but an incredible watch.
I Saw the Devil is a shockingly violent and stunningly accomplished tale of murder and revenge. The embodiment of pure evil, Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Juyeon, daughter of a retired plice chief and pregnant fiancee of elite special agent Soo-hyun. Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun is determined to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. And when he finds Kyung-chul, turning him in to the authorities is the last thing on his mind, as the lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse.
Your response to I Saw the Devil may hinge on your visceral response to the idea of “an eye for an eye.” Not your logical response but what your gut says. The driven and resourceful Kim Soo-hyun avenges the slaughter of his finacee by stalking the four likliest suspects for the crime. When he finds the culprit, he decides to toy with him. However, hunting the hunter goes awry with complications he could have never imagined. When in your hubris you let a killer free, what happens next rests on your shoulders.
Between an Achillies tendon moment, a home invasion, and a technically dazzling sequence in a taxi cab, I Saw the Devil takes ultra-violence up to a whole new level. The brutaltity of this movie is perhaps best emboided by the sheer number of head wounds people suffer. There's a great over-the-top plot complication that comes along with an hour to go you won't see coming, but its just one more in a constant series of shifting, satisfying twists. Director Jee-woon Kim adds humanity and allows the audience an empathy that makes the violence all the more effective. His two leads deliver performances so solid not even dubbing can lessen them, though, as always, the bad guy is the more dynamic of the two.
Impeccably made, with a measured pace that occasionally explodes in violence, I Saw the Devil is mesmerizing even when it makes you look away... and you WILL look away at least once. It also stirs you to squirm in your seat, wanting to throw punches along with the protagonist. This is a major crime thriller; a brilliant, savage must-watch.