After too long I’ve finally seen a good movie, in fact it might be the best film I’ve seen in 2010.
“I Saw the Devil” directed by Ji-woon Kim. He’s the guy who made the stunning “A Bittersweet Life” and the Asian mega-hit, “The Good, The Bad and the Weird”.
Byung-hun Lee, from “A Bittersweet Life” and GI Joe, plays a Korean secret agent. On a snowy night his fiancee calls him. Her car has broken down and she waits for a tow truck. Lee, even though on assignment, finds a place to sing her a love song, to keep her company while she waits.
While Lee sings a good samaritan knocks on his fiancee’s car’s window. He offers to help. Lee tells her to stay in the car and not to trust the stranger. The stranger is played by Min-sik Choi, the brilliant actor best known from “Old Boy”.
Lee tells his fiancee to send him away and to just sit and wait for the tow truck. Very politely and sweetly she thanks Choi and tells him she’d prefer to wait. He seems to go away. Moments after she hangs up the phone Choi attacks her car with a hammer breaking out the windows and then dragging her into his van. In his van he bashes her skull with the hammer but he waits to kill her back in his dingy dungeon where he rapes and decapitates her. Choi brushes the gore down the basement drain.
The next day a child finds a plastic bag with the fiancee’s ear in it. The fiancee was the daughter of the local cops Chief of Detectives. This engenders a full on search. With much angst and fanfare they discover her head in the shallows of a river. Clearly it was thrown from a bridge. Implicitly this brings up the old Buddhist sutra, “I would be a bridge of stone for 500 years for the chance of her crossing me.”
Kim takes two weeks off from work, supposedly to recover from his grief but, and this is true of much of the film – not much is stated outright except the ignorant claims of the police and the killers – the rest of the time we’re nudged into believing we know what is going on in others minds, everyone knows he is going after the serial killer.
Even though we know who the killer is we watch Kim try and locate him. The first suspect he tortures brutally and so thoroughly that the scum confesses two murders he did commit to the police!
The hunt continues and it is sickly fascinating. Until Kim finally tracks down Choi in the middle of another rape and murder.
Kim rescues the girl but stops to smash and beat Choi. When he has beaten him near senseless he whispers to CHoi, “That which is coming will be even more terrible. Then Kim breaks Choi’s arm. He also shoves a GPS capsule into his mouth so he can track him.
What follows is the disintegration of Kim. The atrocities he heaps up on Choi are transfixing and brutal. Kim, ultra cool and suave and Choi filthy and perverted, we find ourselves willing for Kim to simply kill Choi.
Then, unexpectedly, Choi proves his monstrous character has a brain and enough heart to hate and to want revenge.
From here on the movie stays taut, frightening and disheartening. It’s not until the blistering conclusion, a conclusion that could scarcely be improved but still falls inches short, that we see humanity resurrect itself in these two monsters. The humanity it shows is as terribly sad as the depths of its depravity were hateful.
A movie to seek out. the direction and the acting could not be improved. It’s a modern movie that avoids nothing and permits no mere coincidence to mar the terror it inflicts on our souls as it struggles to force us, the viewers, to admit or frail humanity.
The law that should have shut down my job went in to effect, but it only worked for 2 days.
I was disappointed. While one judge in a different district found the law shutting them down to be solid and enforceable another judge swallowed the argument that 1 line in the law was too vague and in its vagueness violated the 1st amendment!!
So it’s business as usual. I got two days off though and that’s a good thing . . . without pay of course. Money buys everything.
My wife is coming next week along with gentle dog and Giant dog.
I sent out my Christmas cards. If you didn’t get one it’s because I don’t have your address, so it really is all your fault.
Now that the college season is over the NFL gets that more important. Last week I was 12-4, which
My picks are in bold.
Indianapolis at Tennessee – I figured the Colts were slightly less messed up than the Titans.
Cleveland at Buffalo – Cruddy game of the week and also my Mini-Upset of the week. To me the Bills have looked more impressive when they’re losing than the Browns have while they’re losing . . .
Tampa Bay at Washington – Common sense says to take the Bucs. Sometimes I wish I could tell my common sense to shut up because I really think the Redskins should win!
Atlanta at Carolina – I really wish I could track down anyone willing to pick the putrid Panthers. They probably think Jimmy Clausen is a great QB . . .
Oakland at Jacksonville – At the start of the season no one could have picked this as a game of the week contender. But it is. I’m taking the Jaguars because of Jack Del Rio and that they’re at home.
Green Bay at Detroit – The Packers will win but I expect the Lions to make this a lot more interesting than it should be.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – This game is on TV here. I won’t watch it. I have to pick the Steelers but I want to see the Bengals and Carson and Ochocinco tear it up!
St Louis at New Orleans – Its time for the Saints to start tearing opponents apart, at least if they want to get to the Super Bowl again.
Seattle at San Francisco – I never figured the SeaHawks would be as good as 6-6 but I sure figured the 49er’s would be league killers! Now I’m picking them becasue the SeaHawks have not been too good on the road.
Miami at New York Jets – After the Jets getting beat down last week by the Patriots I’d hate to be their opponent this week.
Denver at Arizona – Cruddiest Game of the Week!
Kansas City at San Diego – After the dismal showing last week the Chargers will not improve much but the Chiefs don’t have Matt Cassel so . . . .
New England at Chicago – Game of the Week! The Bears have been shocking and the Patriots are riddled enough on D to make this one really really interesting!
New York Giants at Minnesota – When the big stories are the snow storm and whether Favre’s streak ends tomorrow you know not to expect much from the game.
Baltimore at Houston – The Ravens need a win and the Texans are playing for next years paycheck.
Philadelphia 28 at Dallas 27 – The Over Hype Bowl. This game will be dire.