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

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