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Twilight Gangsters - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Yook-hyeol-po Kang-do-dan

South Korea 2010

Comedy, Action, Drama, Crime

Kang Hyo-jin

Kim Soo-mi
Nah Moon-hee
Kim Hye-ok
Im Chang-jeong
Kim Hee-won
Kim Kwang-gyoo

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Twilight Gangsters

aka Revolver Gangsters' Gang

Story: Yeong-hee (Kim Soo-mi) loses her husband and like her two friends Jeong-sook (Nah Moon-hee) and Sin-ja (Kim Hye-ok) she is now without any obligations. The first time in her life the three elderly women feel free and are able to realize their dream to go on holiday in Hawaii. To achieve this they are saving money for eight years already and there is only a small amount left they need to scrape together. They shoplift and sell the goods they stole very cheap on the street until they finally have the money to go on their trip. At the travel agency they find out that cash payment isn't accepted, so the three ladies go to a bank which just happens to be robbed at that time. The bank isn't willing to compensate the three women who have lost all their money, which is why they go looking for one of the robbers whose tattoo they saw. Eventually, they find the robber (Im Chang-jeong), but he can't help them either since his partner went off with all the money. Since Jeong-sook is seriously ill the three women decide to come by some money by robbing a bank themselves...

Review: It always is a pleasant surprise, if by chance you stumple across a movie that can outright excite you. Granted, the movie calls for some open-mindedness concerning the age subject. But rarely do you see a movie that deals with the topic of ageing or even brings the subject to screen in a comedic way without resorting to bad slapstick in the end. However, "Twilight Gangsters" doesn't just turn out to be a very nice comedy, but also an appealing thriller that next to all the humor also finds the time to implement some drama revolving around what it means getting older in Korean society, doing so in a subtle way, while also providing the viewer with some socio-critical messages to reflect on. A remarkable achievement.

Twilight Gangsters - Film Screenshot 11

First of all it needs to be pointed out that a movie dealing with three women over the age of 65 trying to rob a bank inevitably provokes some raised eyebrows. To put it mildly I also was rather sceptical, but maybe that was also the reason why this comedy could win me over so easily. But even when looking at it objectively director Kang Hyo-jin really succeeds in delivering an extraordinary genre mix. The comedy works as such at any time without the elderly ladies having to make fools of themselves. The female protagonists also don't try to look cool in a contrived fashion or be someone else than who they really are. And that's just why the movie is successful. The characters are drawn in a credible way so that there is at all times a bond of sympathy between them and us.

Twilight Gangsters - Film Screenshot 12

As already stated "Twilight Gangsters" is also socio-critical. The three elderly women have sacrificed everything in their life for their marriage and are part of a generation when you married out of pragmatic reasons. They feel like having lived all their life for someone else so far. Moreover, their husbands were unfaithful or treated them badly in other ways, making them still feel sad about their loss of course, but also letting them enjoy a new sensation of freedom for the first time in their lives. The strong bonds of friendship between the three make their relationship emanate life and charm. And their friendship lets them go through thick and thin when they see no other option to get to their rightful money. Because at least once in their life the three want to fight for what is rightfully theirs.

The women are well elaborated when it comes to their unique character traits and the actresses do a great job. Kim Hye-ok ("My Dear Enemy") is the youngest of the trio and the most fearful. To watch her character exercise with a toy gun is actually funny, but she isn't the funny supporting role. After all she gets stronger in the course of the story. Kim Soo-mi ("Marrying the Mafia 2") on the other hand is the tough one of the group, who doesn't put up with anything and as some sort of running gag feels too young to be called granny and argues heatedly with anyone who does so nonetheless. The leader of the group, if there is any, is Jeong-sook, played by Nah Moon-hee ("Harmony"), who always keeps cool and even under exceptional circumstances can cobble together a plan. In a manner of speaking she is the criminal mastermind.

Twilight Gangsters - Film Screenshot 13

The plot itself isn't anything outstanding, apart from the fact that there are three grannies who want to rob a bank. Yet, the women have comprehensible reasons and dreams they still want to realize so that the movie actually might be more appealing to an audience that is half the age of its protagonists. Another reason for that is the fantastic pacing. Every time you think that the movie is in danger of going nowhere, something suddenly happens and things keep being captivating. Particularly well done is the humor which works because of the comedy of the situation and the great characters. Even at the end, when things inevitably have to become more dramatic, "Twilight Gangsters" doesn't overdo it. You very rarely get to see a really good comedy from Korea that even goes without any sort of romance which is why "Twilight Gangsters" deserves a bonus point and a clear recommendation.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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