Nameless Gangster is Korea’s latest entry into the cinematic mobster world, and it’s a darned good one. Set in the criminal world of Busan, South Korea’s second largest metropolis after Seoul, the film portrays the rise to power of a bumbling customs official played by Choi Min-Sik, in fine form as always. Choi Min-Sik’s character is an unlikely gangster–nonthreatening, long-winded, and self-deluded–but you’re never quite sure whether he’s a criminal genius or a well-connected fool. If anything, he’s a traditionalist, who masterfully (or fortuitously) manipulates Korea’s well-documented rigid social hierarchy and his familial connections during his rise to the top, and it’s strange seeing the juxtaposition of this unlikely crime lord with the “real” gangsters.
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The New Inquiry ran a piece by Jesse Spafford today on Ryan Gosling called The Selfless Man. That’s selfless not in the sense of generosity, but selfless in the sense of being without a self—being willing to accommodate one’s persona and personality to whatever other people deem desirable.