Viewed – 02 September 2014 Blu-ray
Ok, I’ll admit I like shock-cinema foreign thrillers such as Old Boy & I Saw The Devil, not just because they are usually very violent with often taboo subject-matter, but also because they’re usually directed with no end of skill and style. This is no exception. A serial killer is going about picking up prostitutes, then torturing and killing them, whilst filming them on camera. He then uploads the footage to an internet website where it attracts the attention of a lonely, troubled reporter whose career and marriage have both failed. When the reporter is mugged one night, his interest in the videos takes over and he films the two men he murders in self-defence, and proceeds to upload the footage onto the website. This then sparks the interest of the serial killer, who starts to goad the reporter into doing further killings.
Directed by The Mo Brothers, this unflinching character study may not be pleasant viewing, and involves some pretty graphic scenes (the attack on the pimp for example) but excels at showing two complex personalities, delivered with powerful performances from the leads. The serial killer’s inner demons surrounding the death of his sister, his inability to comfortably date the nice girl from the florists … and the reporter’s struggle to bond with his own daughter whilst hoping to reconcile his relationship with his ex … are both very well observed. This was also a clever commentary on modern society’s obsession with documenting and filming even the horriblest of situations (who can forget how many filmed the World Trade Centre attacks?). Also at times how we saw something from the killer’s point of view, only for it to have subtle differences when seen through someone else’s eyes was very clever.
Deviations into English language were a bit odd (the two guys seem to resort to English when speaking via webcam), and supporting characters are under-developed. It may also explore a well-worn subject … but offered up a fresh perspective and some genuine surprises. Not for everyone, but fans of hard-hitting thrillers with plenty to leave you thinking – this is one to check out.
Verdict: 4 /5