I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★

"You've created a monster. How interesting."

Kim Jee-woon's I Saw the Devil is a nasty film that brandishes cruelty as its weapon of choice and thrashes it about with zealous abandon throughout its overlong runtime. It's a curiously empty flick that never dwells on its characters if it can help it, instead opting to throw grisly mayhem at you. And that violence is among the most brutal I've seen in what could otherwise pass for a standard action thriller. Plot-wise, it makes a few intriguing swerves but they're shortchanged by a revenge film that once again depressingly treats people (namely women) as nothing more than tools to advance a story we've all seen many times. Ironically, in this regard, it's much like the monster at its center (played by an unhinged and chilling Choi Min-sik). And that approach comes at the costly expense of any semblance of catharsis from its audience. I suspect most who see this won't be expecting a very-well made Korean entry in the Saw franchise but that's what they'll get all the same.

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