I Saw the Devil (2011)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
I SAW THE DEVIL is a shockingly violent and stunningly accomplished tale of murder and revenge from Korean genre master KIM Jee-woon (The Good, The Bad, The Weird and A Tale of Two Sisters). Oldboy's CHOI Min-sik plays Kyung-chul, a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. The embodiment of pure evil, he has committed horrifying and senselessly cruel serial murders on defenseless victims, successfully eluding capture by the police. On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Ju-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancée of elite special agent Soo-hyun (The Good, The Bad, The Weird's LEE Byung-hyun). Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun decides 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. The lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse. Pushing the concept of revenge to its most extreme limits, KIM Jee-woon brilliantly transcends the police procedural and serial killer genres in surprising and thrilling new ways. -- (C) Magnet … More
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Critic Reviews for I Saw the Devil
A remorseless catalogue of calculated violence, casual cannibalism and sexual sadism, this inflicts over two hours of suffering on the audience...
This is the stuff of nightmares, where even the good guy is bad, and as shock cinema goes, it packs a punch.
We lucky westerners get to see it in all its hair-raising, stomach-churning glory, and that's a wonderful thing.
As a living and breathing piece of cinema, it inhabits its beast in a manner that is arresting on the mind, and almost cringe-inducing to the eyes.
Thanks to the strong directing we get a handful of really fantastic scenes and a number of thrills, which make this a wholly enjoyable film.
Audience Reviews for I Saw the Devil
Another South Korean "desperate for vengeance" themed flick with generous dose of violence. I am not a fan of action films per se, but I was amazed by the action sequences in this movie. I guess I found it to be so amazing owing to the actors involved in those scenes. If Min-sik Choi was outstanding as a psycho who doesn't know what fear and pain is; Byung-hun Lee was no less competent.
On the flipside, the movie is out and out predictable. Besides, the concept of making your enemy suffer instead of letting him die easily, was done just recently (in El Secreto De Sus Ojos). Surely, the treatment is as diverse as chalk and cheese, but it still managed to serve as a drawback for me.
Anyways, the movie is still worth a watch for its breathtaking action scenes and power-packed performances. Nothing unique here, but it's a cool vengeance movie that succeeds in holding your interest for 2+ hours (pardon the exaggeration, but I hope you'll get what I'm trying to convey here), despite being outright predictable.
(Originally rated on May 19, 2011; made a negligible correction on June 28, 2014!!)
The extremely graphic nature of this otherwise generic action/revenge thriller, is definitely not for the squeamish. Although sadistic, repulsive and pointless in its subject matter, the approach is strangely stylish and engaging throughout. Not a pleasant experience, but intense and hard to forget.
Once the credits start rolling, and you reflect on the film you've just seen, it will be hard to find flaws in 'I Saw the Devil.' Ji-woon Kim's direction is top notch, and he keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat the entire film. Min-sik Choi's's acting is incredible, and Byung-hun Lee is no slouch himself. Quite simply, this film is amazing. Grade: B+
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