Friend (2001)

Genre: Crime, Drama

Friend (Chingoo), award winning movie that set off Korean box office records at the time it was released, and is most famous movie of relatively unknown director Kwak Kyung-taek whom since then has been unable to surpass it by his other works.

Despite big differences in their lifestyles and families, four friends spend their time together while growing up in late 1970's South Korea, that was very different to Korea we know now.

As the time passes by, their paths in live gradually become separated, each takes their own, easy or difficult way forward. Two of the friends, Sang-taek (Tae-hwa Seo) and Jeong-ho (Un-taek Jeong) apply for a university to get good education, while other two, Lee Jeong-suk (Oh-seong Yu) and Dong-su (Dong-gun Jang) choose the path of crime and become involved in gang business, while being affected by things that usually accompany such activity, prisons, drugs, and death.

However, their lives still cross each other occasionally, while undergraduates are finishing their last years of study, Lee Jeong-suk and Dong-su have become gang leaders...

A tragic story about friendship and lives of four people. A really personal movie from Kwak Kyung-taek as it is semi-biographic movie loosely based on early part of directors life. Already really emotional movie, whose impact is just magnified by these  memories and recollections about his friends and their fates.

Excellent and credible actor performance, that manages to capture with great detail all the events that occur in  the movie.

And brilliant cinematography just completes the package. A huge recommendation.

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Attack the Gas Station (1999)

Genre: Comedy

Attack the Gas Station (Juyuso seubgyuksageun) is crime comedy from South Korea directed by Sang-Jin Kim. It is considered by many as one of the best comedies that have come out of Korea, not all will agree with this sentiment, yet undoubtedly this film has it's own charm.

For quite anarchistic youths are enjoying their evening meal, when suddenly an idea pops into their heads: "Lets rob a gas station!". So they just go and do that. However, stations manager, had been robbed before (coincidentally by the same group!) has taken precaution and stashed all the money away. When youngsters discover that cash register is almost empty, they decide to take over the station, disguise as workers, and keep it open, earning money the hard way. Of course to do so, they have to take stations workers as hostage.

When I watched this movie for the first time, at the beginning I was reluctant to keep on going, but thankfully I kept on watching and grew to love the setting and characters, and by the end I was rooting for characters like they were my friends.

A great dark humor comedy, with, I'd say, original plot. Strongest part of the movie, definitely are the characters of the bad guys. They are perfectly cast and each bring their own different elements to the table. Charismatic, energetic, always moving forward and most important funny all the way.

There is a sequel simply called Attack the Gas Station 2, directed by the same director, but I haven't seen it myself, so you might want to find it yourself if this one will be to your liking.

It's a long night at the gas station, for robbers, workers and the clients. Adventure worth seeing.

DVD from Amazon
DVD from YesAsia