I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★


The film that comes repeatedly to mind while watching this, perhaps surprisingly, is Haywire as both are very similarly structured. The same way that film does not occupy itself with such fripperies as plot this too, spends the majority of its (too long) running time portraying the many and elaborate ways devised by a special agent of sorts to exact (pretty painful) revenge on the sadistic and brutal serial killer who killed and dismembered his young and pregnant wife.

The film is so lurid and so violent, stylized and Grand Guignol that it is obvious that it is not intended to be taken as a realistic portrayal of anything featured in it. The Friedrich Nietzsche quote that opens it makes clear its thesis: “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.” But the problem is that this is a theme we have seen in countless of films to date and it is not enough to sustain the 145 minutes’ running time. Yes its impressively directed and photographed (the first twenty minutes are magnificent) but its’ one note being incessantly hammered (macheted, knifed etc) home  ultimately becomes rather boring. And if there is anybody who doesnt guess how the climax will pan out then that somebody hasn't watched many films the last 25 years.

It would have been a really great 100 minute film.

Hary liked these reviews