|I Saw the Devil (2010)|
|Starring:||Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik and Jeon Gook-hwan|
|The Plot: Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik, of Old Boy fame) is a sadistic serial killer who stalks the highways at night looking for fresh female victims. Out film begins with him finding a victim whose car has broke down on the side of the road, and we watch as he captures and ultimately kills the young woman. Unknown to Kyung-chul this young woman also happens to be the fiance of Kim Soo-hyeon (Lee Byung-hun, The Good, The Bad and The Weird), a special agent and general tough-guy. Soo-hyeon is soon on the hunt for Kyung-chul, but he doesn’t just want to kill the mass murderer. He wants to make him suffer. To do this, he will hunt him down and wound him for every attempt he makes at a new victim. He will butcher him at every turn until the killer simply can not stand the violence any more. Will Soo-hyeon succeed, or will Kyung-chul prove that his sadism can far outweigh that of this mad-detective?|
From the opening sequence, we know that something is different about this film. Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik), our serial killer, is introduced to the audience face first as he peers into the window of a woman in distress on the side of the road. With her car broken down, he poses as a man trying to help as a way of getting close enough to capture the woman. The entire sequence is rather creepy from the start and simply having a vague idea for what this film will deliver, the entire audience should know at this point that something is terribly wrong with the situation and we should be on-guard. However, when the inevitable murder actually happened, I still felt a minor shock.This is a serial killer film after all. Surely the audience isn’t supposed to know the face and the identity of the killer right from the beginning, should they? And if they do, surely it shouldn’t be done in such a matter-of-fact fashion! I Saw the Devil categorizes itself as a character driven piece at this point and our adversarial relationship is then established. We then see Kim Soo-hyeon (Lee Byung-hun) go on his trail of revenge and as he does so, we see that he has also left behind his good nature. It is a cliche of sorts, but the character ultimately does become a monster in the process of trying to destroy a monster.