Beasts That Cling to the Straw   2020   South Korea Beasts Clawing at Straws
Beasts Clawing at Straws Image Cover
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Director:Yong-Hoon Kim
Studio:Megabox Plus M
Writer:Yong-Hoon Kim, Keisuke Sone
IMDb Rating:7.0 (1,103 votes)
Awards:1 win & 3 nominations
Genre:Crime, Drama, Thriller
Duration:108 min
Yong-Hoon Kim  ...  (Director)
Yong-Hoon Kim, Keisuke Sone  ...  (Writer)
Do-yeon Jeon  ...  Yeon-Hee
Woo-sung Jung  ...  Tae-Young
Sung-Woo Bae  ...  Jung-Man
Man-sik Jeong  ...  
Kyung Jin  ...  Young-Seon
Shin Hyon Bin  ...  Mi Ran
Ga-ram Jung  ...  Jin-Tae
Jun-han Kim  ...  Jae-Hun
Yuh-Jung Youn  ...  Soon-Ja (as Yuh Jung Youn)
Meeyeon Han  ...  Editor
Comments: There's a lot to like here. First, all the little twists are pretty low-key, not of the "Haha, made you look!" variety that plagues so much contemporary Korean cinema. Second, it took almost fifteen minutes before some guy kicks or otherwise beats on a woman. It usually comes earlier. Third, after getting the kick out of the way there is a lot of female agency in the film. Most of the guys, and it is mostly guys, are boofs.

The cast. It's kind of silly to call this a director's "debut". You don't get a cast like this if you're some struggling 'I wanna make a movie' director. It was his turn in the assembly line that is Korean cinema. That's not a bad thing. It's why 'debuts' like this look and flow as good as anything that comes out of South Korea.

Of course Jeon Do-yeon is magnificent. She shows up about halfway through and pwns everybody. Jung Woo-sung is also surprisingly good. He must have taken acting lessons somewhere along the way. I always enjoy Bae Seong-woo in a laid back Jeremy Piven kind of way. And on and on.

I would give this 4 1/2, maybe even 5 stars, if the baddy bad guy didn't stoop to bad eating-acting as a way to demonstrate that he is the baddy bad guy. It's one of the stupidest tropes of cinema world wide. Maybe it's the director's fault but I usually blame the actor for not having the skill to present as evil without also being repulsive.

This has a "Fargo" vibe to it. A bunch of desperate people and a bag of cash. Very well done and entertaining. Not bad for a debut!

Summary: A struggling restaurant owner, caring for his sick mom, finds a bag of cash in a sauna locker, while a customs officer gets into trouble when his girlfriend runs off with money he borrowed from a loan shark.

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