Movie Details

I Saw The Devil

"I Saw the Devil" is about Kyung-chul (Choi Min-Sik), a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has been on a killing spree, senselessly murdering innocent victims while successfully getting away from the police. His latest victim is the beautiful Joo-yun (Oh San-ha), pregnant fiancee of elite special agent, Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-Hyun). Overcome by anger and grief, he takes matters into his own hands and decides to track down the murderer, even if it means bringing out his inner monster. He eventually finds Kyung-chul but he does not turn him in to the authorities. In this twisted story, tables are turned when revenge meets its limits.

Language: Korean
Subtitle: NA
Classification: R21
Release Date: 15 Sep 2011
Genre: Drama / Crime / Horror
Running Time: 2 Hours 24 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Cast: Lee Byung-Hun, Choi Min-sik, San-ha Oh
Director: Kim Ji-Woon
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
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Watch this if you liked: “Grotesque”, “Forced Entry”, “No Country For Old Men”, "Schramm"

"We wanted make it look cruel rather than grotesque," reads the notes from special make-up artist Kwak Tae-yung - but "I Saw The Devil" is so unrelentingly brutal that there will be little separating the two by the time you're through all 144 minutes of its R21-rated violence porno.

Alright, that's an exaggeration. What is plain to see however, is that director Kim Jee Woon "wanted to watch the primitive energy that arises out of the clash of mad rage like an active volcano and icy-cold lunacy", which is why this movie doesn't even attempt to explain it characters or their motivations. It's a cold, cold thriller about how the wrong and the wronged go at one another in such relentless fashion that you simply cannot look away from the screen - and despite arriving at these shores more than a full year after its South Korean release, "I Saw The Devil", now apparently available in its uncensored entirety, is definitely hot stuff, and one for the filmmaking canon.

We have "Old Boy" Choi Min-sik to thank for his menacing screen presence, despite not having appeared in anything for five years. He plays a seemingly pathological psychopath who kills young women for pleasure and on a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim just so happens to be the beautiful daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancee of elite special agent Soo-hyun, played by international Korean icon Lee Byung-hun (Storm Shadow in the "G.I. Joe" movies). Lee's performance here is nothing short of extraordinary. It's a story that goes beyond cat-and-mouse to cover even catch-and-release. Perhaps the beauty in this peculiar film is that it is so fatalistically resigned from the outset and yet due to its stylish direction we are so drawn to follow the warring pair to the bitter end.

"I Saw The Devil" is an aptly named film and this writer can definitely admire to director's aspirations that "through the two characters who mercilessly attack each other for revenge, [I] hope the audience will question why some people lead normal lives while others live like the devil - also, wonder where did everything start to go wrong or where are we headed". Like Choi Min-sik's cult classic "Old Boy", it's a movie that forces us to examine the monsters we may not know we're keeping.

Cinema Online, 20 September 2011
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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