Revenge has always been a topic that sold easily and quickly in all forms of storytelling – from books, through theater plays to movies and television series. From the Count of Monte Cristo to Beatrix Kido, no matter how cruel they were in their revenge campaigns, the reader / viewer was always on their side. At least while the story lasts. Of course, the audience becomes more sophisticated over time, so they expect as many nuances in the techniques of torture, execution and in general in terms of preparation and execution of each revenge individually, and production companies, as well as directors and screenwriters are aware of that. That is why we will briefly present one of the most complex and bloodiest film psychothrillers on the topic of revenge – I Saw the Devil from 2010.
Before shooting this thriller, South Korean director Kim Ji-woon had five great achievements behind him in several genres, of which one of the best horror movies of all time, A Tale of Two Sisters (2003), could certainly stand out. which also gained world fame (although, due to the quality of the South Korean film industry, it was sufficient and local). It seemed almost impossible to justify and repeat the success after this masterpiece, but something even better happened – Kim Ji-woon surpassed himself. One should not pay much attention to the opus of South Korean cinematography, especially not in terms of drama, thriller and horror – it is enough to mention Chan-wolf Park and his trilogy The Vengeance, as well as Jun-ho Bong (Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother). for whom the topic of revenge is also very important, if not a decisive factor in films.
And Saw the Devil could be described to thriller fans, roughly speaking, as a synergy of the best from the films Se7en, Hannibal and The Dark Knight, and maybe from some other famous thriller, but, in the end, it is again the only work from the beginning to the end radiates a gloomy, heavy atmosphere constantly spiced with the iron taste of blood. In almost two and a half hours, there are several acts modeled on theatrical dramas – they change the complete scenography, characters and time of day, so that at one point you think of watching short episodes of a crazy TV series.
The story basically seems simple – a serial killer (school bus driver) kills a girl whose car stopped in the snow, after which parts of her body soon appear in a nearby river. The investigation is led by the father of the murdered girl, and her fiancé, an agent of the Korean National Intelligence Service, will soon arrive on the scene. With the help of his father-in-law, the main character gets a list of suspects, and after a short search, before the police, he catches the killer of his fiancée in the middle of committing another serious crime.
All this happens before the end of the first hour of the film, after which the viewer rightly asks the question: “So what now?”, And we will assume that the viewers of Psyche felt the same way when in 1960 . Just as Hitchcock managed to push the standards in film narration and shock, so Kim Ji-woon managed to turn a seemingly completed crime story into a sadistic waltz full of ultra-sick characters and casualties, explicit violence and shocking transformations in which they are no longer recognizable. good from bad characters. And we won’t talk about the plot anymore.
Kim took on two great actors with whom he had already collaborated – Lee Byung-han, who mostly starred in action films, and Choi Min-sika, who is known for his role as the main character in the movie Oldboy. In addition to the great visual depiction of the vengeful endeavor, the film is supported by the wonderful instrumentals of a relatively unknown Korean composer named Mowg, with whom Kim collaborated after this film.
It should not be emphasized that the film is full of scenes of violence that are sometimes exaggerated, but that seemed to be the only way to show the meaning and meaninglessness of the spiral of violence in which one can very easily get into, but difficult to get out. Therefore, I Saw the Devil should not be viewed only as a thriller, but also as a story that can serve as a warning.