Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jason watches I SAW THE DEVIL

Took a little business trip to Cleveland last week, and while I was there I checked out the Cleveland Cinematheque. Nice that it's an auditorium in the Cleveland Institute of Art that has pretty cool programs coming up. The seats sort of need replacing. I know nothing of their financial situation, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn they're struggling as much as many art house cinemas across the nation. So to any of my Cleveland readers, be sure to support the Cinematheque as much as possible. It's not like you have anything else like it in town.

Okay, as for the movie. I SAW THE DEVIL is a brutally gruesome Korean horror-thriller. I've seen enough Korean (and other Asian) thrillers to know mostly what to expect. There's a sadistic psychotic killer, a dedicated cop, a cat and mouse game, and usually the cop wins but only after the psycho takes out the one person the cop cares most about. And while I SAW THE DEVIL kind of follows that formula, it also pushes it to gruesome extremes. First it just pours way more blood on the screen than most films. But the true bit of sadistic genius is making the good guy (a secret agent. The psycho kills his wife in the opening scenes) just as sadistic as the killer. He hunts down the killer pretty quickly actually. But instead of just killing him or bringing him in to the police, he beats the crap out of him and plants a bug on him. That way he (the "good" guy) can track the psycho and repeatedly kick the crap out of him. I suppose you can find some philosophical point in there about the nature of revenge. But really it's an excuse to continually up the ante on gory physical violence. So if you're into that (as I admit I am), it's a beautifully guilty pleasure. After all, nobody films torture quite as well as the Koreans.

Running Time: 141 minutes
My Total Minutes: 235,905

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