Time Out says
Before you watch this film, take a minute to think about the word “shameless.” What cruelty and unkindness is conjured up in your mind? And how does a human being reach such lows? Perhaps if director Oh Seung-wook tried to better answer these questions instead of religiously following the film noir checkpoints, he could have made something more than a genre film with a cliché ending. The shadowy aesthetic and crime plot meet detective Jung Jae-gon (played by Kim Nam-gil) and Macau madam Kim Hye-kyung (played by Jeon Do-yeon). Jeon, coming from her Cannes win in 2007, makes a femme fatale unlike any other that Korean cinema has yet to see. She gives life to Hye-kyung’s role and is more than a sex object—she’s intelligent and strong-willed, not without a sense of innocence and brokenness. Kim’s efforts to keep up in the performance of her pursuer and love interest are commendable, albeit a struggle to see at times. Just as disengaging were the so-called twists to the film in which his enrapture with her leads to his demise. At this point, we wish Oh could have taken a step back and remembered that his inspiration for the film came from the interviews with gangsters and detectives during his Kilimanjaro days 15 years ago. Had The Shameless been such a character study, instead of a plot-driven film, perhaps it too could have been inspiring.
Cast and crew