I can’t begin to tell you why Typhoon helmer Min Byung-chun only directed one other film just a few years later. I can’t…because I don’t have the answer. If someone does, I’m open to learning it, and only because Natural City, his last film as of twenty years ago today, was a highlight for me during a time when I was getting hardcore into Asian films following Jackie Chan’s post-Glickenhaus U.S. resurgence in the mid-1990s.
It’s often interesting in wondering how a director can conjure a mystery tale that keeps audiences guessing. Jang Chang-Won’s new film, The Swindlers, certainly lives up to the task with as much intricacy and detail as possible in its two hour duration.
Written by Jang for his own debut, the film sets its course with tragedy in its wake when a church learns it was swindled out of billions by Doo-Chil (Heo Sung-Tae), a schemer who fakes his own death while escaping from Korea. Eight years later, we meet Ji-Sung (Hyun Bin), a vengeful con-artist hunting Doo-Chil and eager to hatch a plan of his own until he’s forced to pair up with Hee-Soo (Yoo Ji-Tae), an ambitious prosecutor to help culminate more than enough evidence to catch the big fish.
The devil, of course, is in the details with a story that offers numerous moving pieces in its narrative. Developments unfold with a plot that hinges on some pretty familiar tropes moviegoers would find in other sting films. Steven Soderburgh and David Fincher come to mind, but you’re left more entertained than any thing as Jang’s script never veers off course.
Solid performances from the cast along with the essential placing of storied events in the film’s timespan is also a big plus. The most riotous moments go to actress Nana who plays Choong-Ja, one of the most cunning among the roster compared to Sung-Duk (Bae Sung-Woo) the slightly more brash of the bunch as Hee-Soo’s right hand man.
The rest of the film relies mainly on its acumen to keep up the various ruses that take place while never missing a beat. Indeed there is much more to The Swindlers than meets the eye, a fact that makes clear the homework Jang has done in service of a film a rewarding ending – one teeming with sequel potential as the credits roll.
Well Go USA is bringing The Swindlers ashore for an exclusive digital U.S. release on March 6.
High stakes and fast talk are the game in this crime caper that brings together an all-star cast (Yoo Ji-tae, Hyun Bin, Bae Seong-woo, Park Sung-woong, Nana) as unlikely allies from different sides of the law. Each member of the team has their own motives, but they’ll have to work together to achieve their common goal – trapping the world’s most legendary con man.