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The lines of good and evil blur in this blood stained crime thriller from director Jee-won Kim (The Good, The Bad, The Weird; A Bittersweet Life). In I Saw the Devil, Ju-Yeon (San-ha Oh), the daughter of a retired police chief is brutally murdered by the serial killer Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi), spurring her fiancé Soo-hyun (Byung-hun Lee), a secret agent, to seek revenge. But, he doesn’t just seek revenge, he indulges in a violent and bloody game of catch and release with Kyung-chul, each time making him live through he torturous pain he caused Ju-yeon to endure. It’s a voyage that puts him on the edge of evil, just like the man he’s been hunting.
This is Asian cinema at its finest, with captivating performances from both leads, an interesting premise, and superb direction. Some of the more violent scenes may, obviously be a bit much for some people, but they are always served up with purpose.
The AVC encodement is sharp and clean with strong detail, deep, inky blacks and bright, rich color saturation. Shadow delineation is strong as well, but some issues with extra graininess verging on noise do pop up in darker scenes.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is nothing to write home about. It’s a bit thin and dynamic range is also on the narrow side. Although the surround channels are often used for some nice ambient effects, the mix also tends to bog down in dryness, making it dull and inconsistent.
What few video supplements there are, are all in standard definition, half of them promotional in nature and the other half are at least informative on the production of the film itself.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Interviews (1.33:1; SD)
- Making of (1.33:1; SD)
- Teaser Trailer (1.33:1; SD)
- TV Spot (1.33:1; SD)
The Definitive Word
I Saw the Devil is a must see for fans of Asian cinema. For me, it is more involving than the last film I saw from this director, The Good, The Bad, The Weird. The acting is astounding, the plot easy to follow, and the ending is one you won’t see coming.
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