Classic Review – I Saw the Devil (2010)

Title – I Saw the Devil (2010) 

Director – Jee-woon Kim (The Last Stand

Cast – Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik

Plot – After his fiancée is killed in brutal circumstances, secret agent operative Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun) sets out to extract revenge on the evil perpetrator Jang Kyung-chul (Min-sik) in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. 

“Come on! I’m just getting started”

Review by Eddie on 27/06/2022

A violent and unrelenting revenge thriller with horror vibes seeping through its DNA, I Saw the Devil is an over the top, unpredictable and utterly engrossing Korean feature that is unlike anything you’ve likely seen before or since its release, as director Jee-woon Kim takes us on a depraved journey into one man’s quest to ensure a perpetrator of evil is punished beyond measure for his wicked deeds.  

Opening with an off-putting and divisive segment that will likely alienate some viewers from the get go, Devil pulls no punches as Kim introduces us to the world of Choi Min-sik’s sinister murderer Jang Kyung-chul, as he violently and unrelentingly dispatches of Lee Byung-hun’s government operative Kim Soo-hyeon’s fiancé in what is an incident that will set in motion a series of events in both men’s lives as Soo-hyeon sets about making Kyung-chul’s world a nightmare as payback for what he has inflicted on other peoples world. 

Barely pausing for breath across its two and a half hour running time, Devil never intends to ponder the bigger questions of morality that might be found in such a film in a Hollywood version and there’s a lot of incidents across Kim’s tale that upon consideration don’t make a whole lot of sense or feel developed to be taken overly seriously but that does nothing to stop the film from gripping its audience (or those that can withstand its free flowing violence or heavy subject matter) and never letting go as Soo-hyeon’s quest for his version of justice takes on various twists and turns. 

Lead by two committed and energetic lead turns, with Lee Byung-hun as good as his ever been as the unflappable but potentially over confident Soo-hyeon, a man with some seriously devious and memorable plans but also plans with possible loopholes, Devil is elevated by the performance of long-standing Korean actor Min-sik who is a revelation as the despicable and irredeemably sinister Kyung-chul. 

From the moment he first shows his face in the midst of a snow-clad night in the films opening moments through to various other blood-soaked and devilishly plotted segments in the film, Min-sik creates one of the modern eras great screen villains who gets plenty of moments to shine in a film that gives him plenty of show stopping moments, culminating in one of the great character finales of recent memory also that ensures Kim’s film is not soon to be forgotten. 

Final Say – 

At times hard to stomach and likely not for everyone, I Saw the Devil is a film unlike any other as it blends dark humor through a thriller narrative that is tinged in horror throughout, here’s hoping the long spoken about Hollywood remake never sees the light of day as its unlikely to provide the same amount of quality that’s too be found here. 

4 Achilles tendons out of 5  

3 responses to “Classic Review – I Saw the Devil (2010)

  1. I enjoyed this film even though it was a little over the top and by a little, I actually mean a lot! This was a movie that was 30 minutes too long. In the end, vengeance caused more people to die than needed to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s