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I Saw the Devil

A movie directed by Jee-woon Kim

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A Great Entry Point Into Korean New Wave...and just a darn good movie

  • May 27, 2011

It can be difficult to find a way in to the cinema of another culture, and, even despite its impressive catalog of really excellent films, the Korean New Wave is no exception.   Park Chan Wook's movies ("Oldboy" and "Thirst", among others) are one way in, but they are often so stylized, and the style so different from what plays at the multiplex, as to be offputting.  The bestselling movie in Korea, Bong Joon-Ho's "The Host," is a monster-comedy; it seems like the kind of thing that would go over well in the USA, but the humor and its delivery is so culturally Korean that I found it hard to watch.

I'd recommend "I Saw the Devil" as a great starter film for anyone wanting to dip their foot into the world of Korean New Wave cinema. Directed by Kim Ji-Woon, "Devil" is a bloody action thriller; another reviewer recently called it "Jason Bourne meets Hannibal Lecter."  Dae-su Oh is a relentless, brutal serial killer who preys on young women.  But his latest target is the pregnant fiance of Byung-hun Lee, who works for the Korean Special Forces and has access to some really neat gadgets.  Also, he can kick the crap out of anybody.  Lee hunts Oh down, then, instead of killing him or turning him in, plays catch-and-release; he forces him to swallow a GPS tracker and a microphone, and every time Oh starts to relax, Lee catches up to him again and beats the holy hell out of him.  This isn't about justice; this is about revenge.  But it's easy to confuse the two.

Read the rest of my review here.
A Great Entry Point Into Korean New Wave...and just a darn good movie

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May 28, 2011
ah....wonderful review! This needs more word of mouth publicity. thanks for the reference!
May 27, 2011
I really love the sound of this one.
More I Saw the Devil reviews
review by . May 12, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
Set A Monster To Catch A Monster...
Korean director Kim Ji-Woon has always been a film festival favorite and he has been one of Korea’s directors I follow religiously as with Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), Kim Ki-Duk (The Isle), Hong Sang-Soo (Woman On The Beach), Lee Chang-Dong (Secret Sunshine) and Ryu Seung-Wan (Arahan). Kim has always been the kind of filmmaker that always stuck to his own style but never has he sacrificed content for style. His “A Tale of Two Sisters” is still arguably the best horror film in the …
review by . May 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
18 - 141mins - Crime/Drama/Horror - 29th April 2011   A foreign movie from the country of South Korea, I Saw The Devil keeps in tune with many of the films to successfully make it out of Korea with it's dark and gory plot based around revenge.   It follows Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee) who is a highly trained agent. One night while stranded on the side of the road after her car breaks down, Kim's pregnant fiancée is attacked and brutally murdered by Kyung-chul (Min-sik …
Quick Tip by . May 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Kim Ji-Woon does it again! A truly unrelenting violent film that has all the emotional and dramatic impact to portray a very human reaction....the need for vengeance.      Amazingly well-acted and definitely well-executed; Kim is joined by Choi Min-Sik and Lee Byung-Hun to bring forth a dark like coal tale of rage, anger and psychosis wrapped around an action- horror-thriller that may be one of the best Korean films of 2011! See the full review here.      …
About the reviewer
Willie Krischke ()
Ranked #188
I write reviews for the Durango Telegraph, Indian Life, StudentSoul.org, TheKnifeFight.com, and other publications from time to time.
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About this movie


A shockingly violent and stunning tale of murder and revenge. The embodiment of pure evil, Kyung-chul is a psychopath who kills for pleasure. His latest victim was not only the daughter of a retired police chief, but also the pregnant fianc?e of elite special agent Soo-hyun. Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun is determined to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. Turning Kyung-chul in to the authorities is the last thing on Soo-hyun's mind, as the lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse.
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Director: Jee-woon Kim
Genre: Crime, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 12 August 2010 (South Korea)
Screen Writer: Hoon-jung Park
Runtime: 141 min
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