Nameless Gangster (2012) MIFF Film Review


It’s funny that this film is called Nameless Gangster given that the first thing the Ik-hyun does every time he meets someone is to introduce himself. Ik-hyun lives a humble existence with his family, his customs official work supplemented by bribe until he is booted from his job by an equally corrupt boss. It is through introducing himself to a gangster whilst offloading drugs from his last day at work that Ik-hyun forges a relationship with local gang lord Hyung-bae and they quickly take over the city.

Ik-hyun is a fabulous character, marvelously portrayed by Choi Min-sik, whose drunken clowning seems to get out of as many fixes as he gets himself into. He is a selfish man whose adult life has been surrounded by corruption, nepotism and bribery, and he is an expert in using this to his advantage. He is beautifully contrasted by many of the other characters in the film, from the unsmiling Hyung-bae to the new prosecutor who seems immune to the old ways.

Nameless Gangster is a violent film with a wide variety of weapons used throughout, yet it is also extremely funny at times. I’ve loved watching good, bloody, violent gangster films for some time, and I reckon this one makes it in the top ten.