New World (신세계)
Synopsis: A detective goes undercover to become the #3 highest ranked member of a crime gang. After the boss of the gang dies, the undercover detective suffers internal conflicts between the #2 highest ranked member of of the crime gang, who believes in him, and a high-ranking officer from the police organization, who considers him as merely a pawn.
Country: South Korea
Genre: thriller, detective
Director: Park Hoon-jeong
Casting: Lee Jung Jae, Hwang Jeong Min, Choi Min Shik, Song Ji Hyo…
One of my korean friend had advised me this movie cause he believed it to be quite similar to the drama Cruel City that I loved. I am actually a fan of the noir genre and have seen many movies that talk about the criminal underworld. But so far I’d mainly -to not say only- seen violent korean ones like A Bittersweet life for example. Whereas here, -even if we witness to some bloody fights and tortures (SOME! I was actually surprised to see so little of it)- we had a solid story line from the beginning to the end. Without being the most unpredictable plot of the year we assist to some talented twists that actually made the difference with what I’d seen before. We assit to the classic inner turmoil of the undercover agent. They have a mission to fulfill. Gain the trust of the gang, gather evidences and -if the situation requires it- rise to the top of the organisation. An undercover doesn’t infiltrate this world for only one week or one month. For our hero it has been 8 years that he became one of them. 8 years where he had to pretend to be like them, to act like them. The movie begins. A guy is suspected to be a rat and is therefore tortured. Our hero -Ja Sung- is there, witnessing the scene without batting an eye. He is actually the one who gives the order later on, to kill that guy in a dreadful way. We are right from the beginning, stricken by the violence of this world.
8 years, living 24 hours a day, 7 days a week among the mafia…stands one question: how is it possible to not develop feelings, to not slowly forget the true nature of those guys? With years it becomes hard to think about betraying, arresting someone that considers you as your bro/friend: “Being undercover is dangerous. Not because of them but because of yourself. Don’t forget who you are” (Cruel City). Sending an undercover on mission is risking to see him turned against yourself. They are human “You know being an undercover is not an operation or a strategy. They’re human” (Cruel City) and that’s a fact that policemen seem to forget quite easily in gangster movies. That’s the case here. Kang Hyung Chul (Choi Min Sik) doesn’t care about his agent. He is just a pawn and he forces Lee Ja Sung (Lee Jung Jae) to keep on his work saying that it’s not a big deal (hey man you’re not the one who risks your life!). Half threatened by Detective Kang he has no other choice to accept.
Lee Jung Jae played brilliantly his role. He is not the invincible hero that has no fear. We seem him shiver, uneased, lost. If he does one mistake he puts his all family in danger and if he refuses to cooperate with the police these latter can reveal his true identity to the mob, and therefore also endanger his family. He is caught in a vicious circle and fear for his life. His distress gives a real humanity to his character. >>>>SPOILER– the end is only the logical follow-up of how he was treated. “what am I to you all? Even those scumbags trust me why can’t my own guys?“– SPOILER <<<< I love movies who allow me to analyse characters, who manage to surprise me and arouse any emotion that is other than boredom (logic, right?). This movie was all that. Sure it’s not THE movie of the year and yes it talks about a subject that was used and reused many time over (The Godfather, Infernal Affairs etc…) but for the aesthetism of the making (as you can see in my pictures), the ost and the actors, it is worth the try!
Note de Dushbadou: 8.5/10
Note de Whoovy: 8/10
Note finale: 8.25/10