I Saw the Devil ★★★½

I really genuinely love the first hour of this film. 

It’s an unflinching crime thriller that’s incredibly hard to watch at times... yet you can’t look away. It doesn’t hold back from violence nor from the sheer brutality and sickness of torture. It reminds me of a few other films in its first hour (in the best of ways). 

It’s a gripping revenge plot like that of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance with an edge and antagonist like that of No Country For Old Men. These elements never let up throughout the entire film, but after a while, they do begin to ware out... mostly because of how the film shifts a bit the second half. 

This movie could easily be just half of its runtime. A lot of the cat and mouse feels monotonous after a while and the movie REALLY begins to overstay its welcome. It’s hard to appreciate how great the good aspects of this film are in the second half because you’re waiting for it to either come to some conclusion or for a fundamental twist/shift in pace to happen. But the issue is that it never does.

It’s hard not to take issue with this because the film goes from feeling so grounded and intense to almost preposterous at times. The second half plays up almost like an action thriller. It’s not like it wasn’t entertaining, it would just feel more earned had they not worn things out so soon. 

With all of that being said... my god. This can be hard to watch in the best of ways. The dialogue is incredible, the cinematography is fantastic, and the action is glorious.