I could start by telling you that A Dirty Carnival is indeed a gangsters movie, but the truth is that it goes a little beyond that, not too much, but enough to keep us hooked up with the script till the very last minute.
The film serves itself from this violent story to enter a dark world in which man laws have no room and everything that happens is decided by the strongest, the smartest man or gang, to achieve the ruling title.
We can see several known faces, specially since it is a movie that is almost eight years old we are able to find stars that are way more popular now than they were before.
In a gangster’s world there’s no room for treason, or at least not from the bottom up. Kim Byung Doo is a young and small time gangster that needs to save his family from eviction. For that purpose he will try to rise his spot from the very low class gangster he was, to the top by betraying people. That won’t make him any friends, but at the same time it will get him in a high position by President Hwang, a powerful man.
Starring in A Dirty Carnival Korean Movie
Jo In Sung (That Winter The Wind Blows, What Happened in Bali, A frozen Flower) is Byung Doo, a subordinate that has his own aspirations in a gangster band. Reality is that he doesn’t like his job, but at the same time he needs the money to give his family an income to finally come out from poverty. The way of doing it so, won’t be the one he expects. We love crazy In Sung, and he’s at his best over here.
Namgung Min (Unemployed Romance, Cheongdamdong Alice, Can You Hear My Heart?) is Min Ho, a rookie film director that is looking a good gangster story to make his first movie. Since he’s Byung Doo’s childhood friend, he will take advantage of his friendship to gather movie material, that’s how he ends up knowing all the details in this gangster’s group and becomes Byung Doo’s confident who’s obviously tormented by his sins. A good part for this usually loose boyfriend. 😛
Cheon Heo Jin (Two Weeks, Good Doctor, Bridal Mask) is President Hwang, who turns Byung Do in his lap dong after he accomplishes what it could be considered a tough job even for a gangster. He’s a powerful man that can protect those who he wants. He’s the way to get the money, the protection and the way out of the job for Byung Doo. I’ve seen him in all kinds of roles, so his selection, at least to me, it’s a little odd.
Lee Bo Young (I Hear your Voice, Once Upon a Time, Man from the Equator) is Hyun Joo, another of Byung Doo’s childhood friends and his impossible love. Even tho time has passed, he couldn’t forget her and will try to conquer her heart even tho she’s scared of his violent and impulsive personality. She’s so gorgeous, and I almost didn’t recognize her at first, not because of surgery but because she looks so young! She’s a little wasted of a talent here, but her participation in the script was just perfect.
Yoon Je Moon (King 2 HEarts, Mother, Battlefield Heroes) plays Byung Doo’s boss, Sang Chul. He’s the one that introduces him to President Hwang, and that will change their relationship for ever. He’s unscrupulous and uses his favorite subordinate to make the dirtiest works, in the end Byung Doo and his gang are the most effective. Je Moon is nice, but in this movie he’s not crazy enough as we wish.
Jin Goo (Ad Genious Lee Tae Baek, Mother, A Bittersweet Life) is Jong Soo, Byung Doo’s right hand, and also the one in charge of the dirty tricks. Another small part for Jin Goo, but as the role he got in Mother, over here, his part will grow in importance to change a few things. I would love to watch a good drama of his, Ad Genius wasn’t the case.
The movie reminded me too much to Rough Cut, because of the nature of the worlds that end up mixing, movies and gangsters. But the situation here is completely different as fights are too. In that opportunity, script evolves from characters, and over here, situations are the ones that accompany the character’s unpredictable development, even tho the path is hopelessly marked beforehand.
There’s also a huge and absolutely awesome fight in the mud that includes so many people with knifes and sticks that is by far the best of the movie.
The main idea of the movie is that everyone is easily replaceable, and the vicious circle in which one may be dragged into by a single mistake or treason which seems like a irremediable resource. Nobody is nobody’s friend and in the end, the wise wouldn’t trust anyone in a world governed by its own rules.
Death, treason, violence, intrigue and italian waltzes, “The Godfather” style, everything that a movie has to have to be a great gangsters movie that wants to tell a story. Is good, not the best I’ve seen from this genre, but it won’t be wasted time if you decide to watch it.