I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★★★★★

It's easy to get wrapped up in the gorgeous filmmaking, the revolting gore and the troublesome (and somewhat stale) view of humanity when thinking about this movie. I think at times the craft here leads to raised expectations for the movie's purpose, but at its heart, this is blockbuster filmmaking by way of torture porn. This is cat-and-mouse taken to its logical extremes, broken down to its elemental core. This is Kim Jee-won as judge, jury and executioner. It's a tale where morals are tested, and regularly broken, but this isn't a parable. This movie doesn't hide behind the cruel indifference theory of evil; the cannibal is a sniveling meat-addict, the main antagonist a raging, delusional, cowardly misogynist, our hero a broken man with a well of rage far deeper than even the loss he's suffered should create. In some ways, I think Kim Jee-won is laughing behind the camera through much of this, but I don't quite think it's some kind of sick joke either. It's more like he's chuckling in disbelief at these sick bastards.