Sunday, June 12, 2011
365 Movies Day #75 "I Saw the Devil"
Friend and film connoisseur Scott Meeker recommended this film and I am glad he did. Korean cinema has a fantastic way of using incredibly graphic violence in conjunction with a powerful story. Directed by Jee-woon Kim (who we'll be talking about in future posts) this is the ultimate tale of vengeance in a way that American cinema can't seem to tap in recent years (with few exceptions).
The film stars Byung-hun Lee (who my film geeks will recognize as Storm Shadow from the recent GI Joe film...that I was also in) as a special agent who's fiancee is brutally murdered by psychopath Kyung-chul (played by Min-sik Choi of "Oldboy" fame). In response he sets out on a dangerous game to torture the man responsible that leads him down a road to damnation.
The compelling parts of the film are the mix of graphic violence (I physically cringed three times) and very human characters to produce a wonderful film that deals with the psychological side of vengeance. I kept thinking of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" as the lead puts off what needs to be done until it's too late to make it out in tact. I would also compare it with Fincher's "Seven".
Min-sik Choi's performance rivals Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" as a truly twisted villain. Granted his character in "I Saw the Devil" is a bit more insane, but the portrayal of the madness was flawless. One of the best performances I've seen in years. Reminded me of Tucci in "The Lovely Bones" as well. Hats off to Choi.
Again, this film is incredibly violent and disturbing. If you liked the previously covered "AUDITION" you will love this film. In fact, there are a lot of similarities in style between Takashi Miike and Jee-woon Kim, not only in their execution, but the films they choose to tackle. Definitely not done with either of them on this little adventure of a blog series.
I SAW THE DEVIL ON IMDB