South Korea's Choi Dong-hoon knows a thing or two about crime movies. His 2006 effort Tazza: The High Rollers
was a huge smash hit in his native Korea and last year's heist picture The Thieves
? Well, that only went down as the number one Korean movie of all time at the local box office before going on to win love around the world as well. And with The Thieves
freshly out on home video in Australia, we had the chance to get in touch with Choi and find out one simple thing: What does the director of one of the most successful crime movies of all time think are the best crime movies of all time? He came back with four selections and they're not obvious picks so you may want to use these as a guidepost for future viewing.
First on Choi's list? Stanley Kubrick's 1956 crime noir The Killing
. This early Kubrick offering is largely overlooked by casual fans but Choi's defense of it is simply stated: It's a crime movie made by a genius. Plain and simple.
How do you follow Kubrick? With a pair of selections by French director Henri Verneuil. Though less known now than Jean-Pierre Melville, Verneuil directed a whopping thirty nine features between 1949 and 1984 - he popped up briefly again in the 90's - and Choi lists two Verneuil classics on his best of list, 1963 effort Any Number Can Win
and 1969's The Sicilian Clan
. Why? Because in Choi's words a crime film needs three things to be great: A crime (obviously), Jean Gabin and Alain Delon.
Rounding things out is Jules Dassin's 1964 Peter Ustinov starring heist picture Topkapi. Given Choi's own fondness for blending action with comedy it's not hard to see why he finds the Oscar winner so appealing as its fondness for exotic locales and witty characters is reflected in his own work.
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