26. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Bleeding with more ideas than pure punch

Directed by: Ji-woon Kim
Written by: Hoon-jung Park
Starring: Byung-hyun Lee, Min-sik Choi

Revenge stories make for bloody amazing thrillers. From Greek tragedies to modern-day slash n’ hack films, revenge has been one dark part of the human condition that we absolutely love watching (happen to other people other than ourselves). And Korean cinema definitely has a taste for it.

I Saw the Devil is the latest from The Good, The Bad and The Weird‘s director Ji-woon Kim. With two of Korea’s finest actors, Byung-hyun Lee and Min-sik Choi, this seemingly straightforward revenge story about an agent seeking revenge for the death of his girlfriend in the hands of a rapist-cross-serial killer, turns out to be an intensely blood-pumping and provocative film.

As Ji-woon Kim masterfully handles pace and timing – from the slowest encroaching fear of tires slowing on a snow-covered road to the spit-quick swing of scythe – the dramatic punch of I Saw the Devil is as heart-racing as the ideas of revenge that are saturated throughout the film. It is the questions of justice and the pains of sacrifices that are powerfully expressed through the unfolding action that prove to be the surprising elements of the film, making it more than just a panorama of explicit sex scenes, gore and crying.


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