The Taste of Money (Donui mat) (2012)

SANG-SOO IM

Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5South Korea, 2012Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Music by Film Editing by Cannes Film Festival 2012.  

A powerful, wealthy family headed up by husband and wife has their hands in all manner of Korean life, from crime to politics, and the reach of their power is witnessed by a young foot soldier () whom they have just hired. The clan is about to pull off a major deal that involves bribing a government official, and our handsome young hero is on hand to deliver the cash, allowed to enter the family’s giant vault stacked to the ceiling with paper bills and welcomed to help himself to a cut off the top. The situation goes sideways when the marriage at the top of this syndicate falls apart, as Youn finds out that her husband is cheating on her with his assistant and he announces that he is leaving to be with her. Youn becomes a veritable Lady Macbeath, wreaking revenge on her husband that he responds to in equal measure, their fury setting a series of killings into motion that lead to a bloodbath and force the young man to decide if he’s loyal to the job or merely willing to take care of himself. Whatever Sang-Soo Im means to say about corruption and greed with this stylish movie is lost in the muddle of its plot, one that sets up stakes in the beginning but changes them with such high frequency that the ending leaves you wondering what it was that you were hoping to see pay off. Great acting and beautiful production design, but otherwise it’s a shallow experience masquerading as something smart.

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