A reply to the I Saw the Devil Slant review

March 1, 2011 12:16 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

My reply to Nick Shager’s review at Slant Magazine turned into a mini-review:


I saw I Saw the Devil and have to disagree. Firstly, it is NOT hypocritical or exploitative – not sure how one can get such impression? Yes it plays with exploitation but is most definitely not what you describe as a mindless thrill ride. It’s too disturbing to be that. Every bit of violence hurts very hard and is very far away from entertainment. I saw it as an attack to the police procedural TV shows – respectively all contemporary culture. There, we watch mechanically the connect-the-dots plot and the wicked crimes from a glamourous glass wall that gives us a sense of security and numbs our senses. That is exploitation.

I Saw the Devil has traction, real consequences for all characters and the idea that we, as spectators, are doing exactly what the depraved agent does. Wielding the almighty power of the remote control, just like his GPS, to restart the horror again and again, in order to fill in the void in our thrill-less white-collar lives. Remember, Korea is an extreme case of capitalist over-achievement aspirations. Kim Ji-woon is nothing but a genius blocker, the moving car panorama being exceptional indeed. But why was this directed so masterfully? Because it makes you sit up and pay attention.

The ending is also perfect: there are no super-humans or superheroes, only a manufactured idea from media, imagination or religion.

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This post was written by rado

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