Few films in the past decade successfully balance brutal violence with calm, aesthetically pleasing scenes quite like Kim Jee-Woon’s 2010 masterpiece I Saw the Devil.
Starting as a familiar revenge tale, I Saw the Devil quickly develops into something much darker. When Detective Kim Soo-hyeon’s wife is kidnapped and murdered, Kim (played by Byung-hun Lee) makes it his mission to find the sadistic psychopath responsible and make them suffer. While on the hunt for his wife’s killer, Kyung-chul (played by Min-sik Choi), Kim begins to blur the lines between right and wrong with his attempts to exact revenge.
The movie delves deep into the moral repercussions of revenge as well as the emotional impact of anger and trauma. Far from sentimental, this movie is ruthless in its execution, offering little chance for the audience to turn away.
It is not an experience for the faint of heart. For the more daring of you movie goers, it is one not to be missed.
Join us for our first of four instalments on Wednesday, October 1 at 8pm @ Artspace for our Shock-tober film series, in which we will be exploring horror cinema with the objective of sharing with you what it is that makes them both culturally significant, as well as how/why you may be (un)naturally attracted to having chills sent down your spine.
Responsible for Korean films such as the ghastly horror A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), Western-style The Good, The Bad, and The Weird (2008), as well as the American action film The Last Stand (2013), Kim Jee Woon has a diverse range of filmography, which leaves us not knowing what to expect going into his movies.
I Saw the Devil is no exception. It holds a strong tension throughout the film and has scenes of brutal violence no less terrifying than a slasher film. Its high level of shock and anxiety, as well as its disturbing content, makes it a nightmare-inducing, horrifying thriller.
Differing from other movies with similar degrees of graphic violence, there are many scenes that are surprisingly calm and beautiful. These scenes, however, offer no solace. If anything, these scenes increase the impact that the horror has.
Actor Min-sik Choi, who plays the antagonist Kyung-chul in the movie, delivers yet another stellar performance, capturing the madness and haunting nature of a serial killer.
Some of you may remember last year’s screening of Oldboy (2004), also starring Choi (again playing the victim of someone’s revenge). Min-sik Choi offers a very physical performance, enduring multiple beatings throughout both films. He also has an amazing ability of conveying a wide range of emotion as his character is thrown from one confusing and hostile situation to another.
Byung-hun Lee equally offers an emotionally complex performance as Kim Soo-hyeon, shifting between the vulnerability of someone who has suffered a great loss and the coldness and anger of someone wanting nothing other than revenge. Their combined performances are not to be missed.
Please join us for a free screening of Kim Jee-Woon’s I Saw the Devil (2010) on Wednesday, October 1! The screening starts at 8pm at Artspace (378 Aylmer St N), and is open to everyone, not just students.