Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Dirty Carnival movie review


Byung-doo, the No.2 man in a small-time organized crime gang, leads an aimless and wild life. Life is hard for him since he is the sole support of his mother and two younger siblings. However, when Mr. HWANG asks him to embark on a secret mission, Byung-doo realizes that this is one chance he should not let pass by. The mission is dangerous, but success would mean that Byung-doo would no longer have to worry about supporting his family... (from koreanfilm)

A Dirty Carnival has superb casting and good OST that really suits the name of the movie. A Dirty Carnival indeed. Plot is interesting though I was a bit disappointed with dry, boring, predictable and totally obviously doomed love relationship. Many may disagree with me but that's how I felt. It was just too typical, too usual, too boring. But it really had a very important part in the story. After Byung-do did everything he did, he changed but he could be his usual self only with the woman he loved. He could be gentle for a moment and forget his dirty deeds. This love finally opened his eyes. His attitude toward being gangster "It's normal" changed into "It's not normal at all". I think at some extent he wanted to break free from that world.

Plot is rather simple but screenwriting is good, characters have great lines, they don't talk too much. Some scenes are a bit boring, like all karaoke singing scenes but I learned to appreciate them. They had their own meaning. This movie really leaves a lot of space for thinking. All character's actions and words are not obvious, you find yourself wondering what are they thinking, why do they do such things?

Atmosphere is very tense, it keeps you on your toes. I especially love how this movie makes you feel at ease and then suddenly it stabs you from behind. It keeps you on your toes for 2 seconds too long and you start thinking that nothing will happen, then, tsazan. Sometimes extra sound effects were really lame, like stabbing and hitting. I felt like I was listening to a computer game. At times fighting scenes were over the top. For example the first big fight was too long. But overall fighting scenes were cool.

Jo In Seung is a monster, yes, his acting is stunning. Though his role was really similar to WHIB, same kind of torn by life and lost character. Anyways, Jo In Seung conveys his feelings very well. When he is nervous you start feeling nervous too, when he is scared you get chills, when he is sad you pity him. His expressions and look in his eyes are worth mentioning. This guy knows how to act with eyes. He also know show to use his body, how to be a gangster. Many times I felt like he was a real gangster. Though his smoking was fake sometimes, nobody makes that kind of sound while smoking...

Hot or not?

Jin Goo is not bad either. You can feel his icy glare. At first he seems as harmless guy but then you notice that it wasn't a joke Byung-do said "This guy my stab you with a smile on his face".

Nam Goong-min is charming as ever with cute and warm smile of his. He has a very pleasant presence about him. His character development is good too. You can see the changes but you never know what he is thinking. Did he do it to Byung-do to save his own life or Byung-do's life? Did the think that his friend would be safe with police or did he think about his own life only? One thing is sure: if not Jung-so Min Ho would have kept his mouth shut. So did Jung-so plan everything knowing this or just to protect the gang?

Lee Bo-yeong has some skills but she doesn't have much charisma. Her character is a bit dull, though very understandable. I still didn't completely get it, did she love him or not? Overall is a pleasant actress but doesn't make any great impact on you. She seemed a bit old for the role when Jo In Seung was obviously too young to be 29.

The rest of the cast was good. I just don't have anything special to say about them becuase Jo In Seung really stole the show along with Jin Goo and Nam Goong-min.

The ending was good. You get what you are asking for. To be a gangster is not easy at all. Byung-do did a msitake and didn't correct it in time so he lost the game. The last scene was touching. This movie clearly had a message but it's up to you how to interpret it. Was the ending fair or not? I think it was a bit unfair because Byung-do was the only one who had to go. Then again, why not. It was his fault. He got involved too deep into business and it eventually started breaking him apart. Like he said "No one will understand" when he told Min Ho how it feels to stab. The last flashback, why was it there. Maybe to remind Min Ho that it was reality. He was seriously involved in something dangerous. I think he had forgotten that when he filmed his movie. He forgot that he was doing something too real to be exposed to the world and he had to bear the consequences. And well, he finally understood that it wasn't just a movie, it was life, reality. There is no such thing as a movie with real gangster spirit, that's just too dangerous. It was a big mistake.

There was this "filming movie in a movie" theme. I often felt as if Min Ho's movie filming was something Yoo Ha experienced while working on A Dirty Carnival. As if he wanted to show us how he made this movie. So maybe the last scene was something he kept in his mind while filming "A movie with a real gangster spirit" and what he wanted to make us feel while watching A Dirty Carnival.

I like director/screenwriter Yoo Ha. He definitely knows how to keep ball in the air. I think I will check his other movies too.

Cool, entertaining, exciting, violent and menaingful. Superb acting and great atmosphere. I wanted to give this movie 4/5 at first but then I thought that's being too picky.


Jo In Seung's many faces.

Everyohe of the gangsters did great job. I even forgot that they are just acting.

These two guys worked well together. The boss had definitely scary aura. He was nice but you never knew if that was his true side. Maybe it was him who planned Byung-do's murder at the end?

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The passionate kiss. I was actually clapping because I finally saw a good kissing scene in Korean movie.

Image Hosting by Picoodle.comJo In Seung had plenty cool stunts.

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Such an outdated thing to put them fight in the mud <_<

This movie as well. It had to be gay at some extent.


Anonymous said...

Wow you are good, just like I presumed president Hwang wanted Byung Do dead because of the very shares he promised him