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T500FC, 487th: I Saw The Devil (Ji-woon Kim, 2010)

February.21.2011

Way back in 2002, when I was still engrossed with the horror genre, and I still am, I almost had a chance to watch the “memories” part in the Shake, Rattle and Roll type Asian film, Three. Then, I saw A Tale of Two Sisters in 2003; it was just okay for me. Fast-forward to 2008, Kim Ji-Woon came up with a western, something that is unlikely from a Korean director, The Good, The Bad, and The Weird. And last year, he came up with the sadistic suspense thriller, I Saw The Devil.

The story is about an antagonist who kills and preys on female and children. He kills them brutally and gets away with it without having any conscience attacks on the side. One winter night, he manages to murder a fiancé of a secret agent, who is also the daughter of a retired police officer. Our secret agent then aimed to find the crook; it doesn’t matter if he kills him as long as he gets his hands full of the killer’s blood. He trails all possible leads, hurting each possible aggressor along the way.

So, what made this film different from the other Korean films? Well, it feels like you are kind of watching a Park Chan-Wook film; it looks related to any of the Vengeance trilogy. But the thing is, and obviously, those films were meant to show the types of vengeance in different styles and methods. This film greatly emphasizes the rage and sadism of one’s brain akin probably to the film Se7en.

One unforgettable scene shows the secret agent breaking the jaw of one of the dubious being in the “suspect list” even if the secret agent is not sure if the person is guilty or not, he tortures him that way. Suspect vomits blood while one of his jaws is being taken out of his face. Then the screen fades out.

It was kind of refreshing to see such film because it is fairly shying away from the torture films and the new new wave French cinema. It was almost there but it didn’t cross the line, which was really apt especially if you just want to enjoy a film without having to pause it for a few minutes just to recover.

South Korean imposed this film to at least cut the hardcore parts for everyone’s viewing. I say stick to the whole unedited version, it gives the insanity of the secret agent sane to the engaged viewer.

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