[BoxTitle]I Saw the Devil[/BoxTitle] [Netflix] [NetflixWatch id="70144554"/] [NetflixAdd id="70144554"/]
Fans of Chan-wook Park’s now-classic revenge film, Oldboy, should love this equally disturbing and unnerving tale of vengeance from director Ji-woon Kim, which follows a secret agent (Byung-hun Lee) as he embarks on a convoluted and increasingly dangerous vendetta against the serial killer (Oldboy‘s Min-sik Choi) who murdered his wife, a sort of “the hunter becomes the hunted” scenario with an oft-repeated “catch and release” twist. The film’s brutality and sheer relentlessness end up becoming a bit numbing after a while, ending in a climax where you’re not quite sure what the point of all this is supposed to be (other than “evil begets evil”), but the performances of the two leads — and their bizarre cat-and-mouse game — are fascinating, as is the director’s startling, almost apocalyptic visual style. I Saw the Devil also benefits greatly from — believe it or not — a rich sense of humor, often throwing in a laugh where you least expect one and yet where it ends up being most needed; while these moments don’t necessarily provide levity to the proceedings, they infuse them with a much-appreciated sense of humanity. A must-see for connoisseurs of extreme cinema.