The South Korean director must really be something in his homeland to be making any kind of impression over here. Better still (for him) is that precious few...or TWO Korean directors who've carved a niche crowd in the U.S. are the applauded Chan-wook Park (Oldboy) and Joon-ho Bong (The Host).
Turning to the infinitely entertaining "Instant Watch" list of Netflix we can find two of Mr. Kim's better known films ("A Tale of Two Sisters" & "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird") who's success have lead him to his latest feature due out in SK theaters soon and a limited release over here in March. That film is "I Saw the Devil". Slash Film has compared the film to David Fincher's "Seven" and it's faced severe criticism in SK for it's graphic depictions of human atrocity.
*Sigh* Thank you Magnet for picking up the film for distribution over here.
By the word of mouth description of the movie I fell confident in dubbing this film as High Brow Exploitation. This is a sub-genre of exploitation films that targets not the teens and "cinema snobs" like "Saw" or "Hostel" do, but the more worldly, New Yorker types starting in their mid thirties.
Examples of such films include: The Cell, Law Abiding Citizen, Silence of the Lambs and its sequels, and of course Seven.
I loathe this genre. The allure is the grimy nihilism of exploitation neatly folded into a slick, smooth, often very well produced mystery film. This works as unlike exploitation, the mystery genre is all about withholding information to create suspense whereas the former simply threatens a grisly end to those pesky kids. A beer is a beer and splatter is splatter! It's a joke to hide behind high minded theme's of self reflection and society's flaws when you know, we know that we're all here just to seen Hopkins scoop brains out of a mans head.
*Ahem* Anyways, I'll be watching and eventually reviewing Mr. Kim's two available films on Netflix in preparation for (I suspect) the applause "I Saw the Devil" will receive among the filmcentric. If my top films list wasn't any indication of my tastes it should be said I prefer drama, comedy, and lighthearted entertainment more than lurid exercises in unpleasantness. But to be fair, I plan do plan to see Kim's new film, expectations low and biased.