Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Film Review: Nameless Gangster (2012)

Nameless Gangster (Review)
South Korean/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Choi Ik-hyun (Choi Min-sik) starts off as a Busan customs officer who stumbles upon 10kg of methamphetamines. Ik-Hyun eventually meets Choi Hyung-bae (Ha Jung-woo), a gangster, through a friend and sells the drugs. Ik-Hyun realizes Hyung-bae is from the same family clan, and they develop a close relationship; Ik-Hyun a business front with valuable contacts, Hyung-bae handling the criminal underworld with brutal force. Nameless Gangster is a magnificent gangster film with superb performances and excellent direction.

The story in this film is very interesting and captivating. It a classic story of a gangster's rise to power; the loyalty and the betrayal, the success and the jealousy, the business and the greed. It mostly uses intense dialogue/arguments, along with the occasionally violent fights, to keep the film moving; the action and dialogue blend to create a mesmerizing and edge-of-your-seat experience. The film is able to keep this captivating momentum up to its superb ending. Choi Min-sik is, as usual, hypnotizing with his excellent and authentic performance; Ha Jung-woo is able to deliver an equally impressive performance as a calm yet brutal gangster; the rest of the cast is great, creating an authentic gangster-vibe. The music is also perfect for the film, and it benefits from the great editing. Much of the film - from the story to the storytelling, and everything in between - reminded me of Scorsese's classic gangster films; in fact, the film had many elements similar to "Casino" and "Goodfellas", especially the music placement and a few notable homage scenes. This, of course, is a compliment to Yoon Jong-bin's wonderful direction.

The Blu-ray Coffee Book is a high quality product. The packaging is great, with several high quality pictures - consisting of the memorable characters - in book form (i.e. a digibook). It is a single disc Blu-ray with superb picture and audio quality. If you plan on watching the special features or browsing the menus, you should know Korean - as this is a Korean-language product, with English subtitles. Definitely an item worth purchasing for collectors or fans of South Korean films and digibooks.

Overall, Nameless Gangster is an excellent gangster film, from its brilliant and authentic performances to its captivating story and storytelling. One of the best gangster films in a long time; a film that takes its subject seriously without sacrificing entertainment. This is one of the best films from South Korea, and South Korea has A LOT to offer. Don’t miss out.

Score: 10/10

Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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