This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Simon Curry’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Where do I start with this film?
Well I can tell you that if Letterboxd had a fifth space for your favourite films, mine would be taken by 'I Saw the Devil'. No film I have ever seen captures evil, sorrow and pure revenge so viscerally and furiously as this did.
On the outset some similarities could be drawn about this film and another amazing South Korean revenge film 'Oldboy' (my favourite film), however the longer the movie goes on, the more those similarities fall away.
The concept is absolutely amazing, the first time I saw it I was jealous of Park Hoon-jung, who wrote this piece of fiction. A guy who loses his wife to a psychopathic serial killer has the idea to hunt him down, beat him within an inch of his life and then treat the wounds he had just inflicted and wait until the killer is healed, only to do it all over again is pure genius! The metal torture alone of not knowing when this vigilantly would attack made this concept so interesting and original.
Pure Korean film darkness.
The fight scenes left me begging for more, honestly when the film was over I wished I had seen Soo-hyun (played masterfully by Lee Byung-hun) track down his prey and beat him a few more times. A little bit concerning if Im honest but oh well, the vigilantly in me was going wild!
Choi Min-sik you bloody legend. It's impossible for him to do anything short of breathtaking.
Anyway the film speaks for itself and my thrown together review can not correctly express the beauty and violence this film captures.
Thank you Kim Jee-woon for your perfect eyes.
Thank you Park Hoon-jung for your vision.
Thank you Choi Min-sik for the embodiment of evil.
Thank you Lee Byung-hun for the complexity of the human spirit.