Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Saw the Devil


  Very few movies can go this far, get this raw, and not end up labeled torture porn. What this has in spades beyond any movie that's set up simply for the gore, is emotion.  The writing and the excellent acting compliment each other very well. We can relate to and connect to the main character right away. He feels like a real character. Its set up incredibly well.  The story is strong yet simple, and it packs one hell of an emotional gut punch.

  When a secret agent's fiancee is brutally murdered, he drops everything to hunt down the serial killer, and in the process blurs the lines between good and evil.  Its a very simple set up, but its effective like you'd never believe.  Once the movie hits its stride, it raises some very thought-provoking questions that'll stick in your head long after the credits roll.  Its a very intense movie, and one thats hard to take your eyes off of. The violence is never cut away from, it relates the pain and brutality perfectly. In a way that not even your typical horror/slasher film can do. 

  I Saw The Devil generates tension and suspense in really clever ways, using a fantastic score and lots of camera tricks to pull this off. And it does. Of course all this would be rather flat if the actors didn't turn in fantastic performances. Each one of them embody their characters with passion. From the tragic protagonist, Kim Soo-hyeon, played by Byung-hun Lee, to the scary and haunting villain Kyung-chul played by Min-sik Choi, every member of the cast is perfect and their acting is outstanding.

  The movie is however, NOT for anyone with a weak stomach. There is heavy violence towards women, young women, even young enough to be considered children. There's an attempted rape and many brutally graphic scenes of bloody violence. Nothing is sugar coated and nothing is kept from sight. This doesn't ever come off as gratuitous. It gives the movie a strong edge, by not playing around with its audience. You could say its an honest movie. Brutally honest. Its a standard format revenge flick, but its made with brilliant skill. Its a gorgeous looking movie as well, making every scene interesting to look at. I wouldn't say it goes out of its way to force style down your throat, but theres never a dull looking scene.

  Its a chilling movie, that will mess with your perception of right and wrong, and will put the protagonist into very dark places.  I recommend you see this movie if you can handle it, and only when you're emotionally stable. The movie is an emotional roller coaster as it is. It will drag you through a range of emotions, from deep sadness, to the brink of tears, and then to accute and unbridled anger. Its an incredibly potent and extremely well made movie. But clearly not for everyone.

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