Notable Cast: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi
Review: Well, it’s the end of the year, so time to catch all the noteworthy films that slipped through the cracks. I started with Melancholia, and with some time to kill on a lazy Saturday I sat down for this two and a half hour thriller. Wow. I Saw The Devil is a relentless tale of revenge with all the gorgeous style of far east cinema. The story follows Kim Soo-hyeon (Lee) as he hunts his wife’s murderer Kyung-chul (Choi), and the tangled web of madness both get caught in. The lengthy run time soars along as Hoon-jung Park’s intense screenplay assaults you with raw, brutal violence and psychological elements that alter our view of each character constantly. Kim Soo-hyeon is the obvious protagonist, but watching him resort to Kyung-chul’s disgusting level questions his intentions, especially when innocent people get involved in his renegade antics. Byung-hun Lee (GI Joe: Rise of Cobra) acts out Soo-hyeon’s transformation from family man into monster so convincingly, just as Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) played a super-psychotic, power-hungry, just overall depraved serial killer to a scary convincing level. Their exchanges were charged with emotion, making their fighting almost animalistic. And then, when things looked to have reached the climax of all things meant to push our nerves, our script ties in even more insanity, like cannibalism. Why not? But I Saw The Devil had everything not only a good horror film has, but everything good quality films in general have. Phenomenal pacing kept the pedal pressed to the floor mostly, slumping momentarily and reminding us just how long 2 and a half hours really is, but those moments were few and far between. My thirst for action was quenched, my want for a mind-bending revenge epic was reached, the acting drove home how distorted both character’s minds were, the story utilized elements for Hostel type torture horror mixed with a criminal thriller….I Saw The Devil is the full package, hands down. Sit down and soak it in, the payoff in this film is off the charts. Yet another foreign film that blows American cinema genre garbage clean out of the water.
Netflix Rating: 5/5
But since it’s a 2011 film, it gets pulled into the year wrap up as well…
Final Rating: 8.5 rolling heads out of 10