Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Saw the Devil

My first piece for Edward Copeland on Film is up now. It's on the fantastic South Korean film I Saw the Devil. Here's the first paragraph:

For my money, some of the best films being released today are those coming out of Korea. And one of the very best at making those films is Kim Ji-woon. Whether it’s the ghost story (A Tale of Two Sisters), the mob flick (A Bittersweet Life), or the adventure picture (The Good the Bad and the Weird), Kim is always taking clichés from American genre pictures and making them more interesting than they have any right to be. With his A Tale of Two Sisters (one of my favorite films of the past decade), he turned an average ghost tale into a poignant story about sisterhood, memories, and things lost. It was deeper and more heartfelt than it had any right to be. Not to mention the thing looked really damn good. Then there was his war picture, The Good the Bad and the Weird, which again took all of the clichés we Americans come to expect in an action/adventure picture and puts his twist on them so that without realizing it we’re giving ourselves completely over to the material despite being so familiar with the beats. It is this visceral energy and the fact that there’s always something deeper beneath the familiar surface of Kim’s films that makes them so hypnotic.


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