I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Was trying my best throughout to work out why this isn’t a comedy, since the demented display of brutality and sadism is so comically overwrought that it’s the type of thing Bong Joon-Ho would have gently milked for some dark laughs. Kim Jee-Woon doesn’t have nearly the same sense or level of humour, and this leaves I Saw the Devil teetering on the brink of comedy for at least half of its running time, which is a satisfying balance to which it never fully commits. The final scene is such a horrible joke that I was expecting some sarcastic upbeat music (or even some searing heavy metal?) scoring the credits, but it never happened. In this respect, this is pretty much The Revenant of dumb serial killer movies. It looks great, the two central performances are marvellously committed, and the whole tone of depicting human suffering is so hysterically straight-faced that any normal person behind the camera has to view it as a secret comedy. I’m just not sure that Jee-Woon is a normal person (but then again, would I really want him to be?)

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