Dirty Carnival, A (2006)

Korean title: 비열한 거리 (Bi-yeol-han Geo-ri)

What’s popping:

A whole lot more than that other gangster flick we just watched – Fate. At least this movie has a meaty plot – one we can sink our teeth into, bite a chunk off and chew on it.

Jo In-sung plays small-time gangster Byung-doo with panache; he’s a thug you can’t help but like. Unfair circumstances led him to a reckless life of a gangster yet Byung-doo is a man who takes his family responsibilities seriously.

He has his mother and two younger siblings to take care of and it’s ironic to see the tattooed thug preventing his younger brother from mixing with the “wrong crowd”.

At work, Byung-doo has his underlings to oversee. When a dangerous mission presents itself, Byung-doo decides to overstep his immediate Boss and take on the deed. If the mission is successful, Byung-doo is set for life…or so he thinks.

Sealed with a kiss: Byung-doo (Jo In-sung, right) shows his more tender
side when with Hyun-joo (Lee Bo-yeong).

Apart from that, there’s the blossoming – and rather heartbreaking – romance with a high school friend Hyun-joo (Lee Bo-yeong).

Byung-doo longs to break free from his dangerous life for a more normal one and his love for Hyun-joo seemingly promises that. The tender romance here complements the flick and it’s nice to see that the love story doesn’t become central to the plot.

Stirring the hornet’s nest is Byung-doo’s movie director pal (played by Nam Goong-min) who wants information on life as a gangster for his new movie. When it is completed, the movie proves to be a little too close to reality, putting Byung-doo in jeopardy.

Tough: Byung-doo deliberates on
his perilous plan – to smoke another ciggie or not

I personally enjoyed the show and thought that Jo In-sung did a marvellous job portraying the complex protagonist. Byung-doo may be raw and rough yet he is vulnerable and likeable.

Jo In-sung pulled it off playing Byung-doo as a culprit as well as a victim in the (dirty) carnival of life ;-).

The plot:


Inked: Afraid of the rise in art theft, Byung-doo carries around a
masterpiece on his back

Byung-doo is the No. 2 man in a small time gang. He does the bidding of his superior for pittance. Things are difficult for the thug as he has a family to take care of and his underlings to oversee. However, when a dangerous but seemingly rewarding mission presents itself, Byung-doo can’t let the opportunity pass.

Watch it:

It was shown on the AXN Channel (Astro 701) on the second day of Chinese New Year (Jan 27).

Buy A Dirty Carnival here!

Pics credit: Han Cinema

7 thoughts on “Dirty Carnival, A (2006)

  • February 2, 2009 at 6:43 am

    omg i actually watched this on tv on sudance
    cuz once in a while they showcase movies from Asia
    n this was one of them i loved it
    the end was sooo unexpected
    its like the saying what goes around comes around

  • February 1, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    it’s aired in astro?? this movie was aired in Indonesia too last night

  • February 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    it left me breathless during fight scenes, one of the best korean movies made ever. and the way they do the fight scenes, it’s so realistic. 🙂

  • February 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    the show was amazing .
    got me totally immersed in it .
    i went GAGAAAAA went his “friend” made the movie .
    and went GAGAGAAAAAAHHH!! when he was killed . DX

  • January 31, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    i actually watched this movie during my ILOVEJOINSUNG phase. totally not my kind of a movie but i endured it. he’s not really just a pretty face after all, the character is believable, the ending was sad (well, i cried)


  • January 31, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Ya i think Jo In Sung played his character really well. Although he is a gangster who kills mercilessly, he is still very likable and i found myself rooting for him, instead of his movie director / producer “friend”!

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