June 16, 2006
It is the dream of Byung-du aka "Number 3" (Jo In-sung), always ignored at the Rotary gang, to find a sponsor with plenty of cash and tidy up his failed life. When his higher-up in the organization declines the order of wealthy businessman Hwang to "take care of" a senior prosecutor, Byung-du snatches the opportunity. His right hand Jong-soo (Jin Gu) flits to the scenario like a moth to a porch light, while his elementary school buddy Min-ho (Namgung Min) is making a movie called "The Struggles of a Southern Sluggard" out of the entire process. This is where the mean streets erupt into a base and wicked carnival.
Chungmuro, home to the Korean film industry, could fill a truck with gangster movies that tell stories of lust and betrayal. But director Yoo Ha’s "A Dirty Carnival" opening this Thursday breaks free from its predecessors in the genre. While the film on the face of it follows the conventions, the story is really about the consumerist mobsters’ tattered lives. The director wanted to expand the film’s scope to include everything related to life in a capitalist society. The mobsters, the family that eats with them, and the elementary school classmate who once believed with all his heart that he could give everything, end up saying, "It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there." The Jo In-sung we see in the film leaves quite an impression: this young star, rediscovered by Yoo Ha, proves that he still has a lot more to show us.
One recent survey showed that the type of man most popular with other men is a man of integrity and the "all-round cool guy." People associate this type of man with Jo In-sung. What this 187 cm-tall, 72 kg-slim man wears on TV becomes an instant fashion fad, but when he made his debut, he was told, he had a bad voice and a weird face.
But Jo wouldn’t be who he is if he had let that discourage him. He found endurance and strength that are rare in one so young. And while the actor is famous for his younger-brother image, he is in fact the eldest son in his family. When he was a high school student, his family was hit hard by the Asian financial crisis, so he and his favorite younger brother had to go through hard times. After becoming famous as an actor, he said he was happy to pay for his brother’s tuition. Jo’s lifestyle is all about not wasting his energy but pouring it into the right thing. He seems reliable, quite unlike other young actors.