This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Murray’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best movies I have seen in the past year.
#4 in my 'foreign films season' and the best I have watched yet, Recommended to me by Mr. DuLac.
This movie is nothing short of incredible and it's been a long, long time since a movie has kept me so captivated.
The direction in this film is just spectacular, the action sequences are some of the best I have ever seen and the stunts were brilliant. Every shot is framed perfectly. The atmosphere is captured in every scene to reflect the dark and grim tone of the film.
I can fully understand how some people would be sickened by the gore in this film but being brought in the generation of SAW movies I wasn't fazed too much. The director hasn’t held back in this sense and it is shown throughout the film, this is not a film for the faint hearted.
There were several scenes in the film which I thought were particularly incredible for a range of different techniques, including camera-work and stunts. The first confrontation in the greenhouse, for the camerawork, as the two engage in first hand combat we are able to see action and stunts completely, there is no off-putting shaky cam and the framing is magnificent. The scene of the ‘double murder’ in the taxi is incredible and the camera twists round and round as he stabs both his victims repeatedly, it’s horrifying and is one of the points where the real monster in Kyung is shown. The fight in the house of Kyung's cannibalistic friend, 10 minutes of utter brilliance in stunt work. The final scene possibly being my favourite, as Kim walks away from the house he breaks down and covers his face as we are left with nothing but silence. Whether he is realising the monster inside him and finally releasing the emotions of his dead wife and the guilt he is burdened with, or whether he is laughing is unclear. And it is enough to leave you sitting completely speechless as the credits roll.
The two leads are outstanding. Min-Sik Choi proving again that he is an outstanding actor capable of portraying the craziest of characters, bringing forth one of the most believable and terrifying performances of a maniac psychopath to screen I have ever seen to screen. Byung-Hun Lee was terrific and probably my favourite part of this movie. His best scenes being those in which he doesn’t speak and is left to show his emotions through visuals only. Heart-wrenching, believable, incredible, unsettling.
The score cuts into the movie during the best of scenes and works to increase the suspense, whether an action scene or one in which the emotions of the characters are left to flow – it works.
Staying up to watch this has been one of the best ideas I have had in a long time and I can’t thank Mr. DuLac enough for suggesting this to me.