Monday, July 4, 2011

Foreign Fears: I Saw the Devil (2010)

"I Saw the Devil" (2010)
written by Steven M. Duarte

These days I don’t normally walk away from a movie greatly impressed but I do have to say this film really left me with that feeling. In anticipation of seeing this film I scarcely read anything about the films plot and did not read any actual reviews on it. I knew it contained a revenge plot and that’s as far as I went with any pre notions of the film. The film is directed by Korean director Jee-woon Kim known for such films as "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003) and directing segments on the "Three...Extremes" (2004) features. A solid director alongside "Old Boy" (2003) actor Min-sik Choi makes for a good feature film.

At the heart of "I Saw the Devil" we have a serial killer played by Choi who is a cold-blooded killer with no real motive for his actions. He doesn’t do it for money, sex, or hatred of a particular trait. While we see hints that he does gain some sexual pleasure from some of his victims he does not do so with every single one to say that’s his primary motive. He really is just a sick fuck. I haven’t felt so uncomfortable watching scenes of murder in a film since "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" (1986).

The other part of the film plays out as a revenge film with the other lead character chasing after the murderer to avenge his significant others death. The title comes into play with the extent that he goes to obtain revenge as he himself starts to lose face and becomes no better than the serial killer. The various setups for their meetings and brawls that ensue are always kept fresh. Choi does an awesome job of showing no fear even when beat to a bloody pulp.

There aren’t very many films that make me uncomfortable when viewing but I would have to say that certain scenes in Devil really take the cake. Word has it an American remake is in the works. Chances are it will be cut down to 90 minutes, carry a PG-13 rating and star Collin Farrell.

--Steven M. Duarte