I Saw the Devil (2011)
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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.
A terrific but uncompromising film that's definitely not for everyone. It's not just that the violence is graphic, but that much of it is so mean-spirited.
After a while, the sheer length and repetitiousness of the film begins to feel pornographic in the dullest sense.
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+