Beasts Clawing at Straws (Jipuragirado japgosipeun jimseungdeul, 2020)

US Artsploitation Films DVD edition


Yes, a smart and entertaining crime thriller combined black comedy and a promising feature film debut from Kim Yong-hoon.
A film that resembles the style of the early 2000's South Korean film with films like Ryu Seung-wan's 2002 "No Blood, No Tears"
with a bag of money at the center of the action, and also maybe a bit of Tarantino-esque as it sometimes is a bit slowmoving.

There are some great actors here that steal every scene they're in, as the one and only Jeon Do-yeon, the Great, and probably
my favourite South Korean actress the last two decades (even before Bae Doo-na) and the amazing Youn Yuh-jung, the veteran
actress (born 1947) who debuted in 1971 in Kim Ki-young's 2nd part of his Housemaid series (Hwanyeo, Woman on Fire) and
she also was featured in Im Sang-soo's 2011 re-make of The Housemaid. Here she play a smaller part as an old demented lady
but she chews the celluloid when she gets the chance.

The main role in this film is played by a bag full of fresh won banknotes and how the people encountering it threads a bloody
feverish dance of death. It's violent for sure and almost everyone dies - but luckily it's a black comedy, so it's still feel good.

The film is told in chapters and with 3 parallell stories, jumping between them, and it's not until the end that you know the
names of all the protagonists or in which order in time the stories play out. But they finally come together.

Story 1: A man working at a Gym Club, Mr. Kim Joong-man (Bae Sung-woo) is closing down when he finds a bag full of money
deserted in one of the lockers. He puts it in the storage room (somewhat hidden) awaiting the rightful owner to show up and
claim it (but hoping that no-one will). Kim is a somewhat honest man, but he's short of money and he lives with his burned
out wife and his demented troublesome old mother and his daughter neeeds tuition fees for her studies in Seoul.
Mother Kim is played by the fantastic Youn Yuh-jung and she steals every scene she's in (i love her last lines in this film).

Story 2: A passport official, Kang Tae-young (Jung Woo-sung) has a debt to the loan shark Mr. Park. A debt his ex-
girlfriend Choi Yeon-hee (Jeon Do-yeon) has caused but he has to pay. She has dumped him and disappeared somewhere.
Kang must come up with some great idea of how to pay off nasty Mr. Park (to stay alive) and he plans to rob an old
school-friend, Oh Dong-pal, who has embezzled his company and asked for Kang's help.

Story 3: A Bar hostess, Mi-ran (Shin Hyun-bin) is regularly beaten up by her disgusting husband, and as he (unwisely, as
this is a neo-noir movie and a life insurance is a staple in this genre) has a life insurance, she plans to kill him with the help
of one of her enamoured regular johns, Jin-tae (Jung Ga-ram).
Also, her female boss takes a liking to her, and she's Choi Yeon-hee, the mysterious woman on the run.

Almost everyone dies before the film is over, but it was enjoyable too watch, and Jeon Do-yeon sparkles with charisma.

The DVD presents the film in widescreen 2.39:1 with korean audio DD 5.1 or 2.0 with english subtitles, region all, trailer

 

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