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Hobo with a Shotgun
I Saw the Devil
Choi Min-sik, whom you might recognize as the star of Old Boy, returns to the big screen as Kyung-chul, a ruthless, psychotic, relentlessly malevolent serial killer. He kills his first victim, Ju-yeon, after she asks for help in the middle of the night when her car breaks down. Not only does he kill her, but also torture her and chop her corpse into pieces while her blood drains. She happens to be pregnant and the daughter of a retired police chief. Her fiancť, Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), does everything in he can to hunt the serial killer down and exact revenge on him. Revenge has rarely been so bloody because and long-lasting because Soo-hyun doesnít plan on merely capturing Kyung-chul and turning him into the authorities. First he wants to make him suffer more than his victims had suffered by tormenting him slowly and inflicting pain on him each time. Director Jee-woon Kim creates an eerie atmosphere through the cinematography and set designs while the unflinching blood-and-guts adds a very high gross-out factor and, of course, shock value. Given the nearly 2-and-a-half-hour running time, youíd think there might be at least a few moments that drag, but guess again. Youíll be at the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Screenwriter Hoon-jung Park knows how to pile on the suspense because he includes surprises at every turn as the cat and mouse chase builds momentum. Choi Min-sik gives such an energetic and convincingly diabolical performance that he can easily be ranked among the classic, memorable villains, i.e. Hannibal Lecter. Itís fascinating to observe the ways in which Soo-hyun torments him psychologically and physically, and the same can be said when the tables turn. Usually plausibility and suspense tend to wane during a thrillerís third act, but, in this case, itís so riveting and clever that youíll feel as though youíre watching a classic a la Seven. At running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, I Saw the Devil is an intelligent, suspenseful and relentlessly terrifying crime thriller with one of the nastiest villains in the history of cinema.