I Saw the Devil (2011)
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
as Capt. Jang
as Detective Oh
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Critic Reviews for I Saw the Devil
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.
It's a terrible time at the movies, and for that it is truly quite great. But you've been warned.
A thriller that makes you wish you knew how to scream "O.M.G." in Korean.
A revenge flick that's just about as uncompromising as anything I've seen come out of Asia in the last decade or so.
In filmmaker Kim Jee-woon's latest offering, the generous runtime begins with narrative promise but soon settles for near-ridiculous plot twists in order set up the next sadistic rape, murder, torture or terror most foul.
Worth the price of admission for the wildly creative (and brutally bloody) taxicab scene alone. Merciless, uncompromising, and unforgettable.
...a gritty, brutal, and consistently uncompromising thriller that does, for the most part, feel like South Korea's answer to Se7en.
This film features a spectacular performance by Choi Min-sik as Kyung-chul, one of the most scary and evil villains ever seen in any film.
Casts quite a spell. Even if the whole endeavor limps to a close, there's enough vivid imagery and teary passion within to fuel several movies.
Possibly the most violent film ever, I Saw The Devil makes Hostel look like a teddy bears' picnic.
There's no shortage of Korean revenge-thrillers, but this, along with the recent The Man from Nowhere, proves there is plenty of life left in the genre.
Although director Kim Ji-woon's inventive twist on the vigilante shocker is relentlessly bloodthirsty, it never loses sight of the human fallout from violent crime, deftly weaving Lee's eye-for-an-eye actions with moments of genuine emotional grief.
Violent, visceral and vengeful: a catalogue of torture with frustratingly little else to maintain the interest.
A remorseless catalogue of calculated violence, casual cannibalism and sexual sadism, this inflicts over two hours of suffering on the audience...
There is no denying that Kim Jee-woon is a phenomenal director, wrenching visceral thrills, dark humour and even occasionally an element of surprise, from all his stock set-pieces.
Ji-woon handles difficult set pieces and violence well, managing not to appear over-indulgent despite the film's obvious roots in exploitation cinema.
This gleefully black horror-thriller is a very classy follow-up to The Good, the Bad, the Weird for Kim Jee-Woon.
Half engrossing, half just gross, Kim's revenge epic is all form over content. The style dazzles, but just think what he could do with a decent script.
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.More
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+More
A bold and electrifying new breed of revenge film. A shockingly violent and stunningly well made piece of work that`s truly unforgettable and mind-blowing. A bloody, stylish, gripping and absolutely terrifying movie that`s a memorable step forward in the genre. A bone-chilling and heart-pounding adrenaline-charged edge of your seat thriller. A frightening masterpiece that is truly a must-see. Director, Ji-woon Kim crafts one of his most accomplished and brilliant films so far. Revenge films don't get more shocking or exhilarating than this. It`s the real deal. Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi are absolutely sensational. Choi is sadistically brilliant. Lee is magnificent. A spectacular showdown of a cat and mouse game. An intense and powerful thrill-ride that leads you a gut-rotting and breathtaking finish.More
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