Synopsis: When his pregnant fiancée becomes the latest victim of a serial killer, a secret agent blurs the line between good and evil in his pursuit of revenge.
Stars: Lee Byung-hyun, Choi Min-sik, Oh San-ha, Kim Yoon-seo
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Running Length: 141 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit, the 2010 Korean film I Saw the Devil is a button-pushing, stomach-churning descent into the shadows of revenge.
A bold and badass film from director Kim Jee-woon (The Last Stand), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect after reading some favorable reviews that contained warnings of the extreme violence within the 141 minute running time and nightmare-inducing scenes of torture. Opening with a truly chilling scene involving a stranded female motorist and a seemingly good Samaritan that stops to help, it isn’t long before Jee-woon steers his ship through the heart of darkness and true evil by introducing us to the depraved madman (Choi Min-sik in a monumentally effective performance) that kills the pregnant fiancée of a Korean special agent (Byung-hyun Lee, Red 2). Min-sik’s method of disposing of his victims culminates in scenes that will have you white knuckling it, daring yourself to keep your eyes open.
Had this been made in Hollywood there would surely have been the inclination to make the film about something more than the agent’s cold, bloody revenge and delirious pursuit of a killer, but Jee-woon wisely strips away any excess fat and lets the movie build on its own merits of cinematic style and committed performances.
It’s the kind of film that will stick with you long after the final, devastating dénouement is made, leaving more innocent bystanders affected. Not to be missed but do pay attention to the caveat of severe carnage and violence towards seemingly every woman that shows up on screen.