TheBirdOfHermes’s review published on Letterboxd:
' I wish you suffer even after you die.'
Since my recent interested in Asian ( namely Korean) cinema has been developing , i found myself not having seen a single Kim jee - woon film. Which ofcourse is a must for any Korean cinema enthousiast. So decided to watch his most grim , unforgiving project to this date.
''i saw the devil''
This has to be one of the most vile , unforgiving , gruesome , dark and brutal films i have seen in my life. No exageration at al. Normaly in a film similar to this they will cut away , suggest certain actions or events taking place . Not here. You get to see all of it in it's full brutal , violent glory. Normaly in film context i would have no problem with seeing people tortured , beaten etc. But here i found myself grabbing my head in pure digust and cringe. Even getting physically sick at one moment. And i love that they went all out with the gore and violence it made it so much more believeable and investing to watch.
This (and other things i will get to in a bit) make this film so different from other 'revenge flicks''. It shows both perspectives of the killer and the our so called ''hero''. Who totally goes above and beyond to get the revenge he thinks he deserves. Briliantly acted by Choi Min-sik ( known from oldboy fame and other amazing films) and our hero Lee Byung-hun. Both give convincing , impressive and overal disturbing performances.
my only small problem is that i felt that the whole '' He who destroys the monster becomes the monster'' is a little cliche and overused. However the film dus to overplay it which makes it bearable.
This film is pretty long but it didn't feel like it was draggin at any point. Which is hard to pull of with a two and a half our film. Every scene and sequence felt needed and valuable to the story. The ending of this film was truly satisfying on another level but also left me feeling empty.
I adore this film and i will make work of it to look into more Kim jee - woon his work.
Another reminder of why i love Korean cinema