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Film review: Inside Men – slick Korean political corruption thriller

Lee Byung-hun slashes his way through South Korea’s corrupt political landscape in Woo Min-ho’s tense gangster movie

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2016, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 11:43am

4/5 stars

Hot on the heels of the excellent Veteran , Inside Men is a similarly slick South Korean thriller exposing high-level corruption in equally brutal and compelling fashion. Koreans have become increasingly frustrated by the cronyism among large family-run corporations, top-tier politicians and even the media. Clearly voting with their feet, they have made both films huge hits at the box office.

The success of Inside Men at home will come as no small relief to leading man Lee Byung-hun, who spent much of 2015 in the tabloid headlines for all the wrong reasons, while his last film, Memories Of The Sword, flopped. Here he’s back in familiar territory, as Ahn, a small gang leader who is double-crossed and disfigured by his political employers, only to orchestrate their downfall in a skilfully engineered revenge plot.

Ahn’s unlikely collaborator comes in the form of Cho Seung-woo’s ambitious young prosecutor, whose own career is suffering due to his lack of high-level connections. Together they aim to expose a secret slush fund that ties Mirae Motors and Hangyul Bank to a political candidate vying for office. Add to the mix the editor-in-chief of a leading newspaper with his own political agenda, and the scandal could bring them all to their knees.

Woo Min-ho’s typically polished direction see events play out closer to a blood-splattered gangster flick. With Lee Byung-hun centre stage, the result is hugely entertaining.

Inside Men opens on April 21

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