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I SAW THE DEVIL

Director: Kim Jee-woon Year: 2010 Country: Korea Running time: 143 mins Censor Rating: R18 - graphic violence, sexual violence Genres & Subjects: Crime, Suspense

Producer: Kim Hyun-woo Screenplay: Park Hoon-jung Photography: Lee Mogae Editor: Nam Na-young Production designer: Cho Hwa-sung Costume designer: Kwon Yoo-jin Music: Mowg In Korean with English subtitles

With: Lee Byung-hun (Soo-hyun), Choi Min-sik (Kyung-chul), Chun Kook-haun (Captain Jang), Chun Ho-jin (Detective Oh), Oh San-ha (Ju-yeon), Kim Yoon-seo (Se-yeon), Choi Moo-seong (Tae-ju), Kim In-seo (Se-jung)

Festivals: Toronto, San Sebastián 2010; Sundance 2011

Love it or hate it, you definitely won’t forget it. What should be repellent viewing is anything but in Kim Jee-woon’s dazzling and gorgeously crafted thriller. This genre-bender takes the Spy vs Spy antics of cop and serial killer to such devilish extremes that it may be too intense for some viewers. Choi Min-sik (Old Boy), a part-time bus driver and full-time sicko, destroys intelligence service agent Lee Byung-hun’s (A Bittersweet Life) world with one beastly act, beginning a cycle of madness and brutality for both men. With respectful nods to The Killer, Last House on the Left and Dirty Harry, the film teeters on an uneasy highwire of audience manipulation, creating empathy for a protagonist who goes from just hero to full-blown sadist. Elevating it beyond pure nastiness is its oddball humour and the confounding way that we end up entranced by the deeply disturbing and yet poignant human connection between the men. — AT