The Con Artists Review – Who Is the One Being Conned?
Starring Kim Woobin, a South Korean actor known for pulling off the bad boy roles well (e.g. School 2013), I had to watch The Con Artists – a movie in which Woobin took on the character of a safecracker on the wrong side of the law. Even down to his physical appearance, Woobin has that bad boy persona and his acting skills don't disapoint. Woobin's co-stars in The Con Artists are Lee Hyunwoo as Jongbae (the hacker and camera specialist) and Go Changseok as Gooin (the engineer and bomb expert).
The Con Artists, released on December 24, 2014 and directed by Kim Hongsun, is a heist film that toys with the themes of trust and loyalty in a way you can't figure out whether they're shedding it in a positive or negative light until the very end. It keeps the wheels turning in your head as you attempt to understand the message.
What I Want from You Is Not Your Money... It's Your Trust
From the start, The Con Artists introducted the theme of trust. Just like in reality when you struggle to determine who to place your trust in, while watching the movie you have anxiety over whether or not the leading man Jihyuk is trustworthy.
After stealing from a safe and using a person's background against him, Jihyuk says to a woman (Eunha) he's trying to make a business deal with, “Promise you'll trust me no matter what happens.” She found it strange that instead of wanting money, he was asking for her trust.
Naturally, anyone would feel wary about trusting a stranger as it takes time to trust someone. And that trust unfortunately can be so easily shattered either by a misunderstanding (something appearing to be bad when in reality it isn't) or an actual act of betrayal.
But how does one determine whether that apparent betrayal was a misunderstanding or not? A very difficult question to answer.
Additionally, you as the viewer know that Jihyuk is a safe-cracker, in the process of planning another crime, and known for fooling people, so his request for trust easily creates a feeling of doubt and wariness. You would doubt whether or not he could be trusted based on what you've seen so far of him. The chances that he made that request as part of ensuring the success of his plan are high.
Loyalty Won't Save You
Boss Cho's right hand man told someone while using force to get what he wanted, "Loyalty won't save you." This line indicates that loyalty serves as another prominent theme in this movie in addition to trust. It raises the challenging question: Is it worth it to be loyal? Judging by that scene, you get the impression that The Con Artists would take a negative outlook on loyalty and show us that it's not all it's cracked up to be. As a person who values loyalty, you can imagine how uncomfortable that made me feel. Yet, I just had to keep watching to figure out which route they would take.
But Your Disloyalty Leaves You Empty with No One to Fall Back On
At the end of the movie, the detective taunts Boss Cho, "I thought you had connections. Why aren't they calling?" One of the best lines of The Con Artists! At this point, you know for sure that loyalty was actually being presented in a positive light. Boss Cho didn't believe in loyalty and valued backstabbers. You see where that got him. No one had his back when he fell down. The only person who was probably loyal to him was his right hand man, but was that out of genuine admiration for Boss Cho or was it out of fear of being the next person to be buried under cement? I don't think it was out of any fond feelings toward his boss.
The Con Artists Trailer
The Con Artists Is Highly Recommended for Heist Film Lovers
The Con Artists is not a film that only Kim Woobin fans will love. Anyone who's into the crime genre will most likely love this movie as well. Overall, The Con Artists is a funny engaging movie that promotes trusting those closest to you no matter what and remembering that loyalty is better than disloyalty.
Interesting Facts about the Production of The Con Artists
#1 The Con Artists is the first Korean production to film in Abu Dhabi, which is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Specific locations in Abu Dhabi that the crew filmed were the Emirates Palace, the Abu Dhabi International Airport, and the Hilton Capital Grand. (Source: KoBiz)
#2 Kim Woobin's large appetite was humorously revealed by himself and his co-star Go Changseok during a press conference for The Con Artists. Woobin shared the story of the crew ordering pizza the night of his shower scene. As much as he wanted to chow down, he only allowed himself a nibble and then worked out for 30 minutes before filming the shower scene. I always find it hilarious when actors sneak in a quick workout directly before getting on camera.
Then, fellow co-star Ko Changseok humorously added, "Because (Kim) is a model, I thought he would eat nothing but fruits. Later I found out he eats like a horse. He says he is always hungry, no matter how much he eats." (Source: Kpop Herald)
“What's easier? Turning something real into fake or turning something fake into real?”
This is a quote from Jihyuk during the movie that puzzled me. I would say it's easier to turn something real into fake than fake into real, because you would have to change the properties of an item in order to actually transform it into something different. How would you answer this question? Answer in the comments below.