I Saw the Devil
|I Saw the Devil|
Korean theatrical poster
|Directed by||Kim Ji-woon|
|Produced by||Kim Hyung-woo |
|Written by||Park Hoon-jung|
|Starring||Lee Byung-hun |
|Editing by||Nam Na-young|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||144 minutes|
I Saw the Devil (Hangul: 악마를 보았다; RR: Angmareul boatda) is a 2010 South Korean thriller film directed by Kim Ji-woon, written by Park Hoon-jung, and starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had a limited U.S theatrical release. The film was Choi Min-sik's first major role since his self-imposed exile in protest of the changes to the Korean screen quota system. The film has received generally positive reviews.
During a snowy night, the car of Joo-yun gets a flat tire and Kyung-chul drives up in a yellow school bus/van and offers to help fix her tire. Kyung-chul kills her and scatters her body parts. When a boy discovers one of Joo-yun's ears, police are called and find the rest of the body, under the command of Section Chief Oh and Squad Chief Jang, who is the father of Joo-yun. Joo-yun's fiancé, Soo-hyun, who is a secret service agent of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), becomes determined to track down and take vengeance on Joo-yun's murderer.
Jang supplies Soo-hyun with a list of four potential killers, including Kyung-chul. Searching Kyung-chul's home, Soo-hyun finds jewelry and underwear that Kyung-chul has taken from (apparently) numerous victims. When he finds Joo-yun's wedding ring he knows that Kyung-chul's is the killer. Soo-hyun puts a tracking device on the school bus, tracking then attacking Kyung-chul while sexually assaulting his latest victim—one of the schoolgirls he was transporting home. Rendering him unconscious, he places an NIS transmitter inside Kyung-chul, so he can better track his location and listen to his conversations. Waking up, Kyung-chul flags down a taxi, killing the driver and passenger before going to a medical centre, where he sexually assaults a nurse, only to be again attacked by Soo-hyun.
Kyung-chul goes to the home of his friend Tae-joo, a cannibalistic murderer with a freezer full of bodies. After explaining his situation, Tae-joo remarks that whoever is after him must have some relation to one of his victims. Soo-hyun arrives at the house, where he proceeds to incapacitate both murderers and Tae-joo's girlfriend Se-jung. The next day, both Tae-joo and Se-jung are found by the police and sent to a hospital. Meanwhile, a trusted subordinate of Soo-hyun's ensures he and Kyung-chul are sent to a private medical area away from the police. The barely conscious Kyung-chul hears them talk about the transmitter inside him.
Soo-hyun dumps Kyung-chul, intending to continue tracking and attacking him. Kyung-chul taunts him over the transmitter, now knowing who he is and how he's being tracked. To make Soo-hyun lose track of him, Kyung-chul brutally assaults a store owner, directing Soo-hyun to rush to the aid of the victim before he dies. Kyung-chul uses this time to defecate out the transmitter and place it inside a taxi driver he viciously assaults. Soo-hyun interrogates Tae-joo and learns that Kyung-chul is going after Joo-yun's father Jang and sister Se-yun (Kim Yun-seo).
Soo-hyun arrives too late to stop Kyung-chul, who blinds Jang with a dumbbell and murders Se-yun. He abducts Kyung-chul before he can turn himself over to the police. Soo-hyun tortures him physically and mentally before setting up a guillotine above Kyung-chul's head that is soon after activated when his parents and son arrive to visit and open the door to the room he is in. Placing a transmitter nearby, Soo-hyun's hears the death of Kyung-chul and his family's reaction to his decapitated corpse. Walking away from the house, Soo-hyun breaks down crying on the street.
- Lee Byung-hun as Soo-hyun, an agent in the National Intelligence Service
- Choi Min-sik as Kyung-chul, a school bus driver and serial killer
- Jeon Kuk-hwan as Squad Chief Jang, Joo-yun's father
- Chun Ho-jin as Section Chief Oh, the leader of the police
- Oh San-ha as Joo-yun, Soo-hyun's fiance
- Kim Yun-seo as Se-yun, Joo-yun's sister
- Choi Moo-sung as Tae-joo, Kyung-chul's friend
- Kim In-seo as Se-jung, Tae-joo's girlfriend
Alternate versions 
The Korea Media Rating Board forced Kim to recut the film for its theatrical release, objecting to its violent content. Otherwise, the film would have received a "Restricted" rating, preventing any sort of release in theaters or on home video. Seven cuts were made with the total runtime of removed material between eighty and ninety seconds.
I Saw The Devil was released in South Korea on August 12, 2010. The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on 21 January 2011. It also received screenings at several other international film festivals, including the Fantasporto Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Sitges Film Festival, San Sebastian Film Festival and the London Korean Film Festival.
Critical reception 
The film has received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 79% approval rating from critics based on 78 reviews, with an average score of 7.1/10. Metacritic assigned the film a score of 67%, based on a weighted average of 19 reviews from mainstream critics.
Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times wrote "From an unexpectedly moving first act to a hilariously disgusting sojourn with Kyung-chul’s cannibal pal, Mr. Kim and his cinematographer, Lee Mogae, retain complete control of the film’s fluctuating tones and impressive set pieces."
Mark Olson of the Los Angeles Times wrote "There is all the violent mayhem, for certain, but the thing that sets I Saw the Devil apart is its undercurrent of real emotion and how unrelentingly sad it can be."
Rob Nelson from Variety magazine stated that "Repugnant content, grislier than the ugliest torture porn, ought to have made the film unwatchable, but it doesn't, simply because Kim's pic is so beautifully filmed, carefully structured and viscerally engaging."
Awards and nominations 
- Grand Prize Award for Film - Lee Byung-hun
2011 17th FANT-Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival
- Official Selection Best Film
- Golden Raven
- Best Editing – Nam Na-young
- Nomination - Best Cinematographer - Mogae Lee
- Fantasy section Best Director - Kim Ji-woon
- Orient Express sidebar Best Film
- International Critic Choice Award
- Young Jury Award
- Public Choice Award
2010 31st Blue Dragon Film Awards
- Best Cinematography – Lee Mo-gae
- Best Music – Mowg
- Best Lighting – Oh Seung-chul
- Nomination – Best Leading Actor – Lee Byung-hun
- Nomination – Best Art Direction – Jo Hwa-sung
- Nomination – Technical Award – Jung Do-ahn, Lee Hee-kyung
2010 13th Director's Cut Awards
- Best Actor – Choi Min-sik
2010 47th Grand Bell Awards
- Best Lighting – Oh Seung-chul
- Nomination – Best Actor – Lee Byung-hun
- Nomination – Best Actor – Choi Min-sik
- Nomination – Best Film
- Nomination - Best Foreign Film
- Best Foreign Film
- Pending - Best Foreign Film
- Best Foreign Language Film
- Top 10 Films
Home media 
Special features include:
- Making Of
- Art Direction
- Action Featurette
- Costume and Makeup
- Special Makeup
- Interview Collection
- Music Featurette
- Additional Scenes with Director Commentary
- Poster Shoot
- "Boxofficemojo". Boxofficemojo. Retrieved March 04, 2012.
- "Red Band Trailer and New U.S. Poster for I Saw the Devil". Beyond Hollywood.
- Brown, Todd (28 May 2010). "I Saw the Devil Teaser Arrives". Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Kang, Myoung-Seok (19 August 2010). "Lee Byung-hun says "'Devil' makes you think of what you get out of revenge"".
- Sunhee, Han (9 August 2010). "Korea restricts 'Devil'". Variety.
- Brown, Todd (13 August 2010). "I SAW THE DEVIL Trimmed By Seven Cuts, Not By Seven Minutes". Twitch.
- "I Saw the Devil". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "Metacritic: I Saw the Devil". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Catsoulis, Jeannette (3 March 2011). "'I Saw the Devil' - Review". The New York Times.
- Olsen, Mark (4 March 2011). "Movie review: 'I Saw the Devil'". Los Angeles Times.
- Nelson, Rob (20 September 2010). "I Saw the Devil". Variety.
- Dale, Martin (6 March 2011). "Fantasporto captivated by 'Two Eyes'". Variety.
- Official website (Korean)
- I Saw the Devil at the Internet Movie Database
- I Saw the Devil at the Korean Movie Database
- I Saw the Devil at HanCinema
- I Saw the Devil at AllRovi
- I Saw the Devil at Rotten Tomatoes
- I Saw the Devil at Metacritic
- I Saw the Devil at Box Office Mojo