4 January 2016 | grandmastersik
I'd heard a lot about this film, so I was a little surprised by the overall tone, which I felt wasn't very realistic.
The film follows a sub-commander-type gangster who starves under his immediate superior whilst he looks for the opportunity to prove the worth of himself and his men, as well as keep his actual family with a roof over their heads. That opportunity eventually arrives, but it leads to mistrust and dog learns to eat dog, which is about all I can say without ruining the plot.
A lot of users here have commented on the acting being great - and it really is! The fights are excellent (even though most men would be dead if hit with a baseball bat repeatedly to their unprotected chest - NOT a spoiler), and the flow of the story comes naturally. Wow, what's not to love, right?
Unfortunately, the film just cannot decide if it's a fanciful drama glamorising gangsters or a serious characterisation. The romance between the beautiful childhood friend and the lead lacks any kind of spark and it's not until the gangsters are scaring normal people out of their homes for the sake of their boss' stake in a housing development project that we realise they are actually supposed to be nasty people, which, until then, only seemed to be their opposition.
Overall then, A Dirty Carnival is an enjoyable enough flick, but there are better gangster films in both the Asian and Western world and given that the director couldn't seem to decide in what light to make the film, it's impossible to rate it any higher.