I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil (2010)

Dir. Kim Jee-woon


The sheer brutality that Kim Jee-woon throws at every frame of his 144 minute exercise in torture is an experience. Every cut, stab, gunshot is felt as Jee-woon makes every attack feel warranted becaues of the animalistic nature of its protagonist and antagonist. Lee Byung-hun’s Kim Soo-hyun and Choi Min-sik’s Jang Kyung-chul are the “Tom and Jerry” of the film, with Soo-hyun chasing Kyung-chul after the latter brutally dismembers Soo-hyun’s fiancee, our inciting incidet for this symphony of carnage. The cat-and-mouse game that the two go through is exhausting. These two are made for each other, their demented ways of torture and murder are stomach-churning to watch, and moreso when the consequence of a cutting an appendage off begins spewing out of the victims body. Jee-woon never allows morality to enter into the mindset of the viewer, and if it did the film would fail immediately. Morals are out the window after the first kill, but there’s never a moment of respite though, Jee-woon wants the viewer to be as exhausted as our leads are by their bitter end and it’s felt without being overlong. A masterclass in murder that begs to be rewatched and studied despite its tendency to be as mean and menacing as possible.