I Saw the Devil, the 6th full length feature from Jee-Woon Klm, the Korean director, tells the tale of a secret service agents whose wife and unborn child have been brutally slain in a sickening act of violence, and his campaign of terror aimed at the man responsible. He blindly goes after this serial killer who knows no bounds, yet by raining hurt upon the one who ruined his life, he risks becoming his latest victim.
Klm was also the man responsible for the acclaimed A Tale of Two Sisters, and if that film gave an indication of the darkness he was capable of, he spreads his black wings with style in this latest offering. Rarely does a film live up to a brilliant title, but this one of those rarities.
In Two Sisters, Klm created a world of subtlety and nuances, whereas Devil is a volcano of heartbreak, hopelessness and violence, and is one of the most exciting, entertaining and closest things to perfection that we have seen for a long long time, or likely to see any time soon.
From the moment it was announced that production of this masterpiece was starting, and the team behind was revealed, there has been a buzz around this film. Particularly when one of the two men carrying this film is the brilliant Min-Sik Choi, who has been at the forefront of the game since he appeared in the cult classic Oldboy. He is a formidable presence of screen and pulls no punches in his performances.
He reaches both careers highs, and lows, in his portrayal of the utterly despicable and morally bankrupt killer Kyung-chul. What he gets up to during I Saw The Devil will make you feel physically sick, yet such is is mastery that he manages to make this monster remains human, albeit a disgusting one.
He never comes across as a film villain either, he remains all to real, the sad reality is that he could live around the corner, and all his actions here are very reality based. He is the black and demonic yang to the yin that is provided by Byung-hun Lee, the secret service agent who has everything to look forward to in life until his world is viciously torn apart.
Lee also puts in a memorable performance, he has a calm and restrained demeanour that masks a torrent of hurt and hatred within him that he can’t control, not that he wants to. Vengeance is his driving force and he sure lays it on thick. These outstanding leads are superbly supported by a superb cast who flesh out this sick and sordid world to perfection, one stand out being Gook-hwan Jeon playing Kim-Soo’s father in law.
I Saw The Devil is a superbly crafted horror in the true sense of the genre. A great story, powerful acting and enough blood and gore to satisfy even the most blood thirsty viewers. We are asked questions such as is revenge really the answer, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as it would seem. Bold, daring and thoroughly enthralling, I Saw The Devil should be on everyone’s ‘must see’ list.