Friday, January 5, 2018

Film Review: Inside Men (2015)

Inside Men (Review)
South Korea/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...it is engaging, suspenseful, gruesome, and incredibly entertaining."

A political henchman seeks vengeance after being betrayed by his bosses while a prosecutor attempts to link all of the pieces.

Inside Men is a film with a lot of pieces. The plot follows the corrupted relationships between politicians, media, and gangsters in South Korea. Ahn Sang-goo (Lee Byung-hun) is a gangster who works for Jang Pil-woo, a presidential candidate with criminal ties—obviously. Sang-goo also has a relationship with influential newspaper editor Lee Kang-hee (Baek Yoon-sik), who also works with Pil-woo. So, when Sang-goo finds compromising evidence against Pil-woo, Kang-hee informs his partners and Sang-goo is brutally punished. You keeping up? Okay, well, there's more. In the midst of it all is Woo Jang-hoon (Jo Seung-woo), a prosecutor who is struggling to climb the ladder of success due to a lack of connections. Jang-hoo wants to catch Pil-woo and Sang-goo is hell-bent on vengeance. This is just the first thirty minutes or so of the film, by the way. There is much more going on—and it's mostly fantastic. It leads to a strong ending.

Inside Men demands your attention. So, I wouldn't go into this film while exercising, playing a video game, or watching the kids. It starts off a bit rough, introducing a plethora of characters in a matter of minutes, but it ultimately pays off. Since there's so much going on and it all has importance to the plot, the film never feels slow or uneventful. No, it is engaging, suspenseful, gruesome, and incredibly entertaining. I watched The Neon Demon before watching Inside Men. Inside Men is about fifteen minutes longer, but it somehow manages to feel thirty minutes shorter. It's the fantastic pacing and the rich story that kept me engaged, and I applaud it for that. In fact, if I spoke Korean, this film might have been perfect. But, alas, I don't, so I had to rewind it a few times to keep up and some parts weren't properly subtitled.

Lee Byung-hun delivered a fantastic performance, reaching a wide range of genuine emotions—from happiness to anger and everything in between. Jo Seung-woo and Baek Yoon-sik were also great. The entire supporting cast was amazon, really. The film was shot beautifully and the music was great. It's a gorgeous, well-made film. The movie was written and directed by Woo Min-ho, based webtoon by Yoon Tae-ho. Min-ho masterfully crafts this twisted thriller, pulling great performances from his cast and filling every second of the runtime without filler. I hear there's a longer director's cut of this film. I would love to see it.

Overall, Inside Men is a fantastic thriller. If you love films with twists and turns, if you're a fan of dark, gruesome Korean thrillers, you're going to enjoy this film. It might not start off on the best foot, but it ends up delivering a superb cinematic experience.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, sex and nudity.

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