Synopsis by Mark Deming
Conflicting criminal alliances turn old friends into mortal enemies in this taut drama. Thoughtful Sang-taek (Tae-hwa Seo), hot-tempered Jeong-suk (Yu Oh-seong), bookish Jeong-ho (Un-taek Jeong), and hair-triggered Dong-su (Jang Dong-gun) are four friends who grew up together in a small town in South Korea. The four came of age in the politically tumultuous early '80s, and while in high school, the boys began to drift into a life of crime as members of a teenage gang. Three years after graduating, Dong-su has ended up in prison and Jeong-suk is addicted to drugs, while Jeong-ho and Sang-taek have walked away from their delinquent pasts and are enrolled in college, though they occasionally visit Dong-su behind bars. When Dong-su is finally released, he returns to a life of street crime, but turning his back on Jeong-suk, he aligns himself with a different underworld gang. Despite his drug habit, Jeong-suk has risen to a position of no small power on the streets, and as Dong-su's star rises, it leads to an inevitable collision between the two friends. Chingu proved to be a massive commercial success in South Korea, setting a record for racking up six million admissions faster than any local feature in the nation's history.
childhood-friend, alliance, delinquency, drug-addiction, political-tension, criminal, underworld