Woo Min-ho’s ‘Inside Men’ is a Masterpiece, Lee Byung-hun Is Back On Form

One of the latest and most important tendencies in S. Korean cinema is the harsh critique of public institutions. This tendency finds its apogee in ‘Inside Men’, which is based on Yoon Tae-ho’s webtoon “The Insiders” that focuses on the corruption within Korean society.

Additionally, Inside Men was a big hit South Korea , taking in more than 9 million admissions. Thus becoming the top grossing R-rated movie of all-time at the Korean Box office.

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The film revolves around the intricate, and filled with corruption, relationships of five men

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The film revolves around the intricate, and filled with corruption, relationships of five men.

Lee Kang-hee is the chief editor at a large newspaper, who has helped an ex-prosecutor ( Jang Pil-woo ) rise to the parliament. The former currently provides the necessary publicity and the latter the political power.

The financing comes from President Oh, owner of a large company; which provides for both Jang and the newspaper.

An Sang-goo is a gangster that gets into business with Lee as his enforcer, at least until he is deemed a traitor.

Lastly, Woo Jang-hoon, one of the few honest prosecutors, has set his life goal to put Jang behind bars. Unfortunately, he has no connections to help him and has to face the combined forces of the press, the industry, and the politicians.

However, he finds an unlikely ally in An Sang-goo, who is set to exact revenge.

Woo Min-ho is making a clear comment about corruption in the country

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Woo Min-ho makes a clear comment regarding corruption in the country, and the connection of the judiciary with the press and the politicians.

He paints all the individuals of the aforementioned institutions with the darkest colours. To the point that even a mob man like An Sang-goo, looks honest and good in comparison.

This depiction stretches beyond their corruption, as they are also presented as sexual deviants.

 

A 3 hour film , but with excellent pacing.

The film keeps a good pace, and despite its long duration, manages to retain the interest unwavering. The story unfolds in segments, and between them are inserted flashbacks that further explain the situation.

In that aspect, and as the script is quite complex, the movie demands full attention from the spectator, a task than can be difficult considering its duration. However, both the outcome and the unfolding of the story compensate fully.

 

Lee Byung-Hun Is The Undisputed Star Of The Film

Lee Byung-hun as An Sang-goo is the undisputed star of the film, as he manages, once more, to appear smooth and stylish in every scene. His depiction of a tough but sensitive criminal is sublime.

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Cho Seung-woo is also great as Woo Hang-hoon, a “lone ranger” that has to forget everything he believes in, in order to achieve his goal. The chemistry between the two of them is one of the film biggest assets.

Baek Yoon-sik as Lee Gang-hee and Lee Kyoung-young as Jang Pil-woo provide two great villains, who are corrupt as they are intelligent and calculating. Also of note is the presence of Jo Woo-jin as Director Jo, the torturer of the syndicate, who acts in distinct exploitation fashion.

 

Plenty of Action

Woo Min-hoo included many action scenes, which are usually quite violent and bloody.

Their prowess however, is undeniable, as the editing by Kim Sang-beom keeps a great pace. This trait is particularly evident in the scene where An has to face the syndicate’s henchmen. Go Nak-seon’s cinematography and Lee Min-su’s production design are also points of greatness. Providing realistic and occasionally impressive images, both outdoors and in interiors.

The warehouse where Director Jo tortures his victims is a great example of the film’s technical prowess.

'Inside Men' is a true masterpiece. A film that combines style with substance, in the best way possible.Click To Tweet

“Inside Men” is a true masterpiece, a film that combines style with substance, in the best way possible.

The film is part of the great S.Korean selection of the Korean Film Festival in Australia, that will be on until September 25