A Dirty Carnival is one of my favourite Korean movies — I’ve seen it about half a dozen times (so far). For me, its just one of those movies I can always pop in the DVD player when I need 2 hours of riveting entertainment. Its a very popular gangster movie and one that I always recommend to people — and they are never disappointed.The film is from the same director as Once Upon a Time in High School (trailer) (stream) — a teen/high school fighting-drama set in the 70’s which I really enjoyed as well.
Jo In-seong plays a small time gangster and clique leader in his late 20’s who realizes he must climb the ladder to support his poor family (sick mother & pre-college sister) and in return will gain success and power for himself.
Jin Goo (A Bittersweet Life) plays a supporting role as his loyal right-hand / #2 in the clique. Lee Bo-Young (I Am Happy, More Than Blue — both really good romance-dramas) plays an old friend from high school who he becomes reacquainted with through another old friend who is now a director — struggling to make a gangster film. All the people in his life play a great influence to his choices, motives and actions — for better or worse. Collectively the events that occur, in a whirlwind of a story, depict a struggling yet confident man in the middle of conflict, chaos and a circus — or a carnival (get it?)
This is a very popular gangster movie and well-known for its fighting scenes as well as story build ups to the violence.
aparoo says 5/5 because gangsters now how to party