Pas de deux

by March 19, 2011

I’m not personally an immense fan of serial killer movies–much less of revenge films in the same genre–but Steve Dollar’s review of Kim Ji-woon’s new thriller, I Saw the Devil, has me intrigued. And if its trailer is anything to go by, Dollar’s assessment below looks accurate (read the rest here):

[The film’s] meticulous, deliberate and stylishly composed introduction sets the stage for a clash of wills that feels at once hyperbolic and excruciatingly intimate. Like so many Korean films, its runtime appears to be infinite. Yet, it’s one of the very few I’ve seen that justifies the length (two-and-a-half hours). It takes that much cinematic expanse to play out a sadomasochistic pas de deux of escalating violence and devastating collateral damage, as the putative good guy transforms himself into a ruthless and brutal stalker in the name of vengeance. Director Kim, whose last effort was the wacky Spaghetti Eastern The Good, the Bad, the Weird, pulls out all the stops…

The director’s skills as an image-maker are highly stylized, imbuing the unthinkable and graphic with a disturbing poetry that makes the most overplayed plot points in the genre feel charged with vitality.