I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★

Is this a compelling premise? Are the characters interesting? Sure. But I have some big, distracting problems with it.

Firstly, the editing/pacing. I have no idea what time span this was supposed to take place over. A few days? A month? Who knows? Once it gets going, the energy is kept at the same level for almost the entire rest of the film with no pauses or rests to let us balance the gore and horror against. The meaning of this horror and its impact fades as a result of this as we keep being inundated with bloody imagery. The editing is also very jumpy and oddly paced. The way some of these shots are cut makes no sense.

Next, the human connection I had to our protagonist was lost very quickly. I was invested in him until just after the funeral, then he almost totally loses the human vulnerability and emotion that would make me invested in his journey for revenge. He seems entirely too competent and makes the transition from ordinary guy to ruthless hunting machine almost instantly, shaking me off in the process. 

And then we have all the violence, especially against women. I understand that we are meant to be repulsed and uncomfortable, but it’s so goddamn gratuitous. Every female character is there to be put through hell, terrified and/or raped/murdered. We get some unnecessary shots of naked bodies covered in blood, women crying as they are sexually assaulted, and the few who do live are never shown again. I guess we’re not supposed to care about what happens to them, even though they are the main victims of this film. There are several instances where the protagonist is entirely aware that there are women being tortured at the exact instant it’s happening, and yet he chooses to wait and let them be victimized until jumping in when it’s almost too late (for dramatic effect??). The lack of empathy and interest shown any of them puts me off pretty damn fast.

Also, there are only so many heavy blunt weapon hits to the head that you can put in one movie before they start getting annoying. 

I’m not saying this is a bad movie. I can totally see how these things could be glossed over by someone else and not hinder their viewing experience, but they stopped me from being invested or enjoying this much.

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