Saturday, February 11, 2012
I Saw the Devil
Writer: Kim Jee-Woon
Director: Park Hoon-Jung
Starring: Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik, Jeon Gook-hwan
Revenge picture. Special agent dude's wife is killed by a pretty awesomely crazy psycho. Agent goes on an elaborate revenge kick. This is Korean, not American. The Americans may very well wreck this movie one day. What the fuck else is new?
oh, those koreans. they are rocking the tocks off of the movie industry. hardcore. direction: superb acting: awesome. effects: awesome. it's hard to shock me, or skeeve me out, but there were parts of this movie that made my teeth go all chompers. chomp, chomp, chomp. that dude that played oldboy was seriously evil. just when you thought he couldn't get more dispicable, wham! whole new level of horrible. the serial killer is a fascinating phenomenon to me. i think this was a brutal and pretty good portrayal of the sociopath/ serial killer. this lack of any sort of compassion or human-ness is hard to come by in movies. there is usually that ray of redemption even if it is small it's usually there. probably because audiences are more receptive to the redemption theme. this was just a black hole of violence and revenge. with the redemption thing leaning on the shoulders of the boyfriend/ agent. will he? won't he? it's true that the villian won either way, and there is the rub, and the afore mentioned black hole. excellent movie. excellent.
The best thing about this movie is that there are no easy answers and nobody comes out unscathed. It leaves the viewer with a question: Was the collateral damage worth the first order impact? I thought about the ending while it happened and I thought about the ending afterwards for quite some time. Korean movies are good for things like that.
Korean movies are good for things like that. That makes the bar for a Korean movie a bit higher than the bar for a lot of the things we watch. That's not necessarily a fair position for me to take, but I'm OK with that. What I'm getting at here is that this movie is quite fine for what it is. It stands out among the full crop of IMDB, but it doesn't really stand out among the wheat of the bunch. It's a 4, but it kind of... I don't know. The only time the direction stood out for me was when it annoyed me. One shot near the beginning of the movie, repeated incessantly for about two minutes, gave me a headache. It was FULLY competent everywhere else.
I don't want this to sound like I don't recommend the movie. While it's not Oldboy and it's certainly not Thirst it's a very good movie. The acting was excellent; the direction, as I've said, was very nice; the plot was a line but you have to try really hard to keep the pen on the paper. If you like heavy, dark, extremely gory subtitled movies about revenge and justification then you will definitely like this movie. If you like Transformers unironically then you probably won't.