I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★★★

Brutally intense, downright shocking, relentlessly violent & absolutely unforgiving, I Saw the Devil is an emotionally devastating story of loss & revenge that is extremely well executed on the film canvas and finds renowned filmmaker Kim Jee-woon reveling at the very top of his game in what is his third consecutive masterpiece after A Bittersweet Life & The Good, the Bad, the Weird.

I Saw the Devil begins by introducing us to a merciless serial killer who is later tortured by one of his victims' fiancé, who in the process of seeking revenge starts becoming the very person he hates most & thus begins the diminishing of the fine line between good & evil as well as victim & aggressor among both the characters and the observation of this very element is the film's core ingredient.

Where director Jee-woon impresses the most here is in trying to push the film beyond the confines of its genre while keeping its drama, action & violence smoothly balanced & undisturbed. Brilliantly written, meticulously photographed, cleverly edited, intensely scored & featuring equally memorable performances from Choi Min-sik & Lee Byung-hun, it is an expertly executed cinema that puts greater emphasis on plot & characters than tasteless gore.

On an overall scale, Kim Jee-woon's I Saw the Devil may not be as classic a revenge-thriller as Park Chan-wook's Oldboy but it sure is more aggressive & relentless than that one. Definitely not for everyone as this cinema has moments involving rape, mutilation, disemboweling & even cannibalism in it, so do make sure if you can digest all that before you start watching it.

Undoubtedly one of the greatest films of the past decade & inarguably one of world cinema's finest examples of its genre, I Saw the Devil continues to push the boundaries of what is acceptable in mainstream cinema & is one revenge flick no film lover should miss out. Extremely recommended.

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