I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★★★

As my love for Korean thrillers grows, I decided to revisit one of my favorites. As much as I loved Oldboy the first time I watched it, it was I Saw the Devil that really clicked with me. A pitch black, brutally violent film that explores the transformative nature of revenge.

"When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."

One must become a monster in order to fight monsters. But is revenge against a monster a fools errand? What can you take from someone who has nothing to lose? Someone who has already discarded their humanity? How far are you willing to go? Will you discard your own humanity? Sever all ties? Let go of everything? Become a beast to hunt a beast? Is there something you still have left to lose? Something he can take from you? Use to hurt you? Twist the knife in your gut? If there is, you must tread carefully or risk losing all that you have left.

The thing that really puts this film over the top, is Choi Min-sik's absolutely stellar performance as the villain. We don't get much personality from the protagonist, who is dead inside after the brutal murder of his fiancé. He's cold and methodical. But Choi Min-sik, as the serial killer Jang Kyung-chul, is electric. He's a man that even other killers are afraid of. A man that fears nothing and takes what he wants. A man who hasn't even a passing familiarity with morality. A monster in the truest sense. And, furthermore, a monster that's a delight to watch.

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