I Saw The Devil
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 26 2011Korean revenge movies reached their apotheosis with Park Chan-wook’s violent but sophisticated trilogy – ‘Sympathy for Mr Vengeance’, ‘Old Boy’ and ‘Sympathy for Lady Vengeance’ – the last two of which starred Choi Min-sik. In director Kim Jee-woon’s monotonously brutal cat-and-mouse movie, Choi plays Kyung-chul, an amoral serial killer who abducts and butchers the pregnant wife of special agent Soo-hyeon (Lee Byung-hyun). Consumed by revenge, Soo-hyeon initiates an interminable game of catch-and-release, repeatedly capturing and maiming his prey, but refusing to kill him until the ‘most painful moment’.
A remorseless catalogue of calculated violence, casual cannibalism and sexual sadism, this inflicts over two hours of suffering on the audience – a cruelty compounded by the fact that its banal point is made early: per Nietzsche’s dictum, ‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.’ Choi’s ferociously deranged performance eclipses that of handsome Lee, as does Choi Moo-seong’s, as Tae-ju, the seedy hotel owner with a taste for human flesh.
Author: Nigel Floyd