4. I SAW THE DEVIL
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Stars: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon, Ho-jin Jeon
It’s always a good time when a beloved genre filmmaker takes his gloves off and gets uncompromisingly dirty; yet, with I Saw The Devil, South Korean director Kim Jee-woon, shreds those gloves into itty bitty pieces, puts on brass knuckles adorned with thumbtacks, and pulverizes your eyes. Trust us-it’s the best kind of punishment.
The lines between good and evil are drenched with blood in this twisty revenge thriller, which starts off a traditional serial killer flick and then shifts into a cat-and-mouse game between a charismatic murderer of young women (Min-sik Choi) and the husband (Byung-hun Lee) of one of the killer’s victims. Once the “good guy” is established, Jee-woon wastes no time in blurring his moral code, subjecting Choi’s character to torture and brutality that’s arguably sicker than what doles out to captive ladies, before murdering them, of course.
I Saw The Devil roars along its nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time at a breathless pace, with each horrific set-piece topping the previous one as Jee-woon puts on a directorial clinic (a rotating camera shot inside a cab provides for the year’s best murder sequence to date). To put it succinctly, filmmaking doesn’t get much rawer than this.