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Despite their different family backgrounds, four friends grew up together in the wearisome years of the 70s. But as time goes by, each of them takes a different life path. After enrolling in college, Sang-taek and Joong-ho return to visit Dong-su (Jang Dong-gun) and Joon-suk (Yoo Oh-sung), only to find one of them in jail and the other on drugs. Slowly life takes difficult turns where friends become rivals in the crime world. Written by
Last year, "Chin goo (AKA Friend)" became the highest grossing film in Korean history, surpassing the highly acclaimed "Joint Security Area" and "Shiri". Many observers were curious as to the secret to its success. Was it because of the gangsters? the actors?
The main reason for this movie's phenomenal success was the fact that is was a very good movie about male friendship. In Korean culture, friendship between guys is a very strong relationship. Especially in the city in which the movie is set - Pusan - loyalty and sacrifice for friendship is seen as a very important part of honour.
In this movie, friendship is tested to the limit from beginning to end, as the movie's two main leads (Yoo Oh Sung and Jang Dong Gun) grow from being teenage rebels to big-time gangsters. The catch is, when they grow up, they become very different types of gangsters. One becomes a JOPOK - equivalent to the Korean Mafia, respected by the Korean people for sometimes punishing bad people. And the other becomes more of a thug gangster who kills and steals for fun.
The direction is excellent, but the acting is the element which holds the film together as a whole. The two leads are two very different actors. The first, Yoo Oh-Sung, plays the Mafia gangster and has a very tough-as-nails look and uses method acting skills. The second (arguably Korea's most popular actor right now) chews scenery with Chow Yun Fat-like charisma and striking looks.
if you enjoy gangster movies or movies about friendship, this will be a dream movie for you
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