Money is the root of all evil.

Joong-man (Bae Sung-Woo) is stuck at a job he hates in order to care for his aging mother (Oscar-nominee Yuh Jung Youn) one night he discovers a bag filled with money left in a locker and a huge weight is lifted off of his shoulders. Tae-young (Jung Woo-sung) is in way over his head with a debt to a mobster who has a James Bond-type henchman who likes to slice and dice. And Mi-ran (Shin Hyon Bin), an escort in an abusive relationship, is tired of her life and goes to extreme lengths to get out.

After one of Mi-ran’s clients offers to kill her husband for her and mistakenly kills someone else, things start to go sour. Needing to get away, she confides in her boss, Yeon-hee (Jeon Do-yeon) who promises to help her out, but at a cost. Tae-young needs to get Mr. Park off of his back before his debt gets called in. Eventually his greed gets the better of him when Yeon-hee returns to his life with some secrets of her own. In the end, those who started at the bottom will get a leg up to the status that they once had.

If you ever wanted to borrow money, this movie will make you reconsider. Lies and deception never end well. Set against the beautiful landscape of South Korea, this is a stylishly clever neo-noir peppered with moments of dark comedy and a few twists and turns along the way. No character comes out smelling like a daisy, but we feel for those who are forgotten by society and laugh at those whose status and prestige get ripped away from them as a punishment for their greed.

Adapted from Japanese author Keisuke Sone’s novel, writer/director Kim Yong-Hoon makes his feature film debut with this entertaining farce. With three plot lines interwoven in a non-linear story, everyone gets their own time to shine and in some cases slashed to death in a bathroom stall.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantastic Film Festival Australia screens BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS on select dates from April 21 until May 1. Tickets are on sale HERE

FFFA 2021 Review – Beasts Clawing at Straws

Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), April 7, 2021. Rating: TBC. Running time: 108 min.

PRODUCTION: An M-Line Distribution release of a Megabox Plus M production. Producer: Won-seok Jang.

CREW: Director/writer: Yong-hoon Kim (based on the novel by Keisuke Sone). Editing: Meeyeon Han.

CAST: Jeon Do-yeon, Jung Woo-sung, Sung-Woo Bae, Yuh Jung Youn, Shin Hyon Bin.

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