Film: I Saw The Devil
UK Release date: 9th May 2011
Running time: 140 mins
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik, Jeon Gook-hwan, Jeon Ho-jin, Oh San-ha
Format: DVD & Blu-ray
Country: South Korea
Reviewer: Adam Wing
"Helmed by Kim Jee-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life), one of Korea’s most successful directors, I Saw The Devil is an action packed thriller, both disturbing and brilliant in equal measures. Lee Byung-Hun (A Bittersweet Life) and Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy) play a deadly game of cat and mouse, serving up a devilish dish of bloody retribution and twisted revenge.
A psychotic killer is on the loose and nobody is safe from his sadistic brand of butchery. When the fiancée of an elite special agent becomes one of his victims, the hunter becomes the hunted and its fair to say that all bets are off. Kim Jee-woon has yet to put a foot wrong in the director’s chair, delighting audiences the world over with his gritty thrillers, haunting horrors and quirky black comedy. From The Quiet Family to The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Kim Jee-woon has proven himself to be one of the most accomplished directors in the world today.
Like A Bittersweet Life before it, I Saw The Devil starts slowly, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The gentle drip feed of dread leads to an avalanche of glorified mayhem, brutality and bloodshed. Choi Min-Sik is his ever-reliable self as the psychotic killer of the piece, and Lee Byung-Hun impresses with a ruthless efficiency that slowly unravels as he loses his way in the darkness. There are plenty of twists along the way and once I Saw The Devil finds its feet it doesn’t stop running.
It certainly puts you off taking a break in Korea; seems like everybody’s a killer in Kim Jee-woon’s energetic offering - a thriller so chilling you’ll need a pickaxe to free yourself from the sofa. Bloody, brutal and breathless, I Saw The Devil is another fine example of Korean cinema - a cold and calculated exercise in vengeance from an undeniable talent, not to mention two of Korea’s leading performers."