Are there any scenarios where revenge is justifiable? If so, is there a limit to it? This is one of the central themes of I Saw The Devil – Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da), a South Korean film released in 2010 and which, even after years, sustains itself by bringing an intense, brutal and unpredictable narrative. The feature film is directed by Jee-woon Kim, responsible for other great works, such as Fear (2003) and The Taste of Vengeance (2005).
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Scripted by Kim himself, in partnership with Park Hoon-jung, I saw the devil has in its main cast Lee Byung-hun (GI Joe), Choi Min-sik (old boy), Jeon Gook-hwan, Ho-jin Chun, San-ha Oh and Yoon-seo Kim. Names, by the way, that do a wonderful acting job, especially Byung-hun and Min-sik, who make up the duo of protagonists of the narrative.
Since I watched I saw the devil for the first time, a few years ago, I wanted to write something about him. However, at the time, I could not (for various reasons). Now, after reviewing the film, however, I would like to say that, finally, the time has come. Below, therefore, check out a complete narrative and critical analysis of this surprising suspense and action project.
What is I Saw the Devil? (NO SPOILERS)
Before starting the analysis, let me explain to you, first, what is the plot of I saw the devil. That way, we’re all on the same page and, if you haven’t watched the movie yet, you know a little more about it.
Well, the South Korean production tells the story of Soo-hyeon (Lee Byung-hun), a high-end agent who is married to sweet Joo-yeon (San-ha Oh). On a cold night, in which the girl’s car breaks down right in the middle of the road, Joo-yeon is surprised by Jang Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik), who sees the situation and offers to help her. However, things are not what they seem to be.
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Joo-yeon is kidnapped and brutally murdered by Jang Kyung-chul, which awakens all the anger and vengeful side of Soo-hyeon, who starts to hunt the criminal incessantly. However, even when he manages to get to the killer, the man is not satisfied, as he wants Jang Kyung-chul to suffer as much as possible.
From then on, Soo-hyeon starts a sadistic game with his wife’s killer, which hides several breathtaking nuances and twists.
Eu Vi o Diabo is a roller coaster of emotions and explores the darkest side of the human being from different perspectives.Source: Enter the source
I Saw the Devil: Narrative and Critical Analysis (WITH SPOILERS)
Despite the title, I saw the devil it’s not a classic horror movie. It does present elements of the subgenre called psychological horror (well before it became a fever in cinema, by the way), but it is much more like a suspense, a thriller filled with action and drama that has revenge and its consequences as its central focus. . After all, can taking revenge on someone who hurt you be considered fair? Or does that just make the individual as bad as their abuser?
In the first act of the film, the narrative provides us with arguments to believe that, yes, Soo-hyeon’s revenge against Jang Kyung-chul is valid, since he killed his wife (who was pregnant) and several other women brutally. Without us fully noticing, the storytelling, at first, makes us root for the “good guy”, even if his ultimate goal is to torture and kill (the same things his antagonist does, however, for different motivations).
However, as time goes by, the narrative stealthily puts a doubt in our minds: has Soo-hyeon gone too far? Questioning that is even personified by his father-in-law, the ex-policeman Jang, who knows of the main character’s intentions and asks him to stop his revenge. A request that is not granted, as Soo-hyeon’s hatred is greater than her ability to see the real gravity of the situation.
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And it is thanks to this hateful blindness, to this force guided by revenge, that things get out of control and we no longer know who the real villain of Eu Vi o Diabo is. By hunting down Jang Kyung-chul, torturing and releasing him for the process to start again, until the killer can no longer bear to live, Soo-hyeon shows that he can be even worse than the man who took his life. beloved, exposing that the dark corners of the human being can surface in different ways and in different people. And when that happens, there is no right or fair, just an endless cycle of violence and pain.
Justice and revenge are mixed up in Eu Vi o Diabo, which presents an analysis of how far human beings can reach through revenge and hate.Source: Enter the source
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the film is very effective in creating unpredictability through great twists. In a moment, Soo-hyeon has Jang Kyung-chul in the palm of her hand. In another, Jang Kyung-chul puts Soo-hyeon’s journey in check, turning the tables and regaining control. In this coming and going, we are placed on a roller coaster of emotions capable of creating a tense atmosphere, full of apprehension, and that makes us curious and anxious to know what awaits us around the next narrative corner.
At the end of the projection, Soo-hyeon gets her revenge and breaks down, crying profusely, in an act that, of happiness and satisfaction, has nothing. On the contrary, by making this vengeful hunt his life’s mission, the protagonist only postponed his grief and his real feelings towards everything that happened, hoping that Jang Kyung-chul’s suffering would serve him as a kind of medicine or cure. . However, as he says moments before, there is nothing Soo-hyeon can do that will bring Joo-yeon back. That is, the serial killer has already “won” the game.
I saw the deviltherefore, it is a beautiful study on how the concepts of revenge and justice can sometimes get confused and questionable behaviors in human beings (all of them) emerge, creating situations in which there are never winners, but rather distorted and injured figures by scars that won’t heal.