Thursday, 7 June 2012

Flim Dissection: Pop: I Saw the Devil

Film -악마를 보았다 (Akma-reul boattda / I Saw the Devil)

Our Classification: Detective
Language: Korean
Rating: 10/10
Notable Actors : 

최민Choe Min-Sik (Oh Dae-Su in Oldboy, North Korean Commander in Taegukgi, Baek Han-sang in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Kang Tae-shik in Crying Fist)

이병헌 Lee Byung-hun (Kim Sun-woo in A Bittersweet Life)

The Story

Kyung-chul offers to give a woman a lift when her car breaks down, when she refuses he smashes her car with a hammer and then brutally murders the woman. Her fiancé and dad are high up in the police force and plot to take revenge on him. 

Throughout the film, the fiancé (Soo-hyun) abandons more and more of his morals in order to make Kyung-chul’s life a living hell. He tracks him and gives him horrific but not life-threatening injuries whenever he is about to murder another victim.

Kyung-chul doesn’t like being bested and as revenge murders Soo-hyun’s father in law to be, and sister-in-law to be, the only family that Soo-hyun has left. Kyung-chul then turns himself in to make sure that no more revenge can be gotten by Soo-hyun. When he has put his hands in the air ready to be picked up by the police, Soo-hyun drives past in a car and snatches him so that he can put him in the guillotine that he would have originally murdered his victims with. But the guillotine is tied to the door so when the rope that Kyung is holding drops the blade will drop.

His family are then told to come and see him, so that the ultimate revenge is taken. The family will suffer for the rest of their lives because they were the ones who opened the door and killed Kyung, and he will suffer in the afterlife knowing that he did that to his family. Meanwhile Soo-hyun has turned into just as much of a monster as Kyung-Chul.


Human beings make such a big deal out of good and bad. We base almost every decision on morality in one way or another but we never take a moment to step back and actually consider whether the moral decision is the correct decision. Shallow analysis of the film would suggest that Kyung-chul is evil and completely in the wrong while Soo-hyun is the good guy. However the reason that he would be considered good is because he’s been wronged and is taking revenge. His actions are, on balance, more evil that Kyung-chul’s actions but because of his motives we see past that. Revenge should not be seen as a positive thing and it is not something that people should be commended for. 

Killing and torturing a person has no justification whatever that person has done, we have a legal system which should give out equal and fair punishments to criminals. When angry at a person’s actions the first response should be to seek out legal help and if the legal system cannot fulfil our requirements we should seek to improve it. Law is the basis of a perfect society. If revenge is what you wish to do then you must first remove yourself from society or be fully prepared to face the consequences with no complaint or regret. 

The concepts of good, bad and morality as a whole exist only because of society and so removing yourself from it renders you capable of anything considered evil without the pull of a conscience. Each and every human being is capable of murder or rape or other abhorrent crimes when removed from society’s blanket and this renders revenge irrelevant. All revenge means is that you have tried to create an excuse in order to return to society when abandoning it didn’t quite work out. 

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