Stefan Says So: I Saw The Devil (악마를 보았다 / Akmareul Boattda)
Finally one of Korea’s cinematic gems over the last year has made it to our shores, and it’s better late than never to experience it on the big screen no less.
For fans of gritty cop thrillers in the same vein as Se7en and Memories of Murder, I Saw The Devil serves up an engaging, disturbing narrative in similar veins, but surpasses with its intensity, characterization, and shocking imagery that even made me squirm in my seat (and I pride myself at not squirming easily).
Some may dismiss it as shock jock tactics, but director Kim Jo-woon’s film is anything but, paring down emotions to its rawest when dealing with a tale of vengeance.
Heartthrob Lee Byung-hun (who was here in June recently for ScreenSingapore) plays Soo-hyun, an elite secret agent whose wife suffered the misfortune of being under the crosshair of serial killer Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik of Oldboy fame), who brutally assaults and hacks her up.
Promising that her killer will suffer an equally unsurmountable amount of pain, he embarks on a one man vigilante mission, with the help of his father-in-law, an ex police chief, to narrow down the list of suspects upon whom he delivers punishment without remorse, even for those who were not the culprits, but nasty people nonetheless.