Cannes: "The Taste of Money" Became Too Silly

Posted 4:21 PM May 30th, 2012 by popcorn
The Taste of Money

"Do-Nui Mat" ("The Taste of Money"), by Director Im Sang-Soo, whose previous work includes the remake of the well-received “The Housemaid”, is a partially well drafted dark drama. The last half breaks down its serious and dramatic story into a less well-thought-out farce and deteriorating clumsy ending.

The film starts out with a great telenovella/soap opera-like drama that follows the imminent and predicated downfall of a wealthy Korean family caused by their corrupt business practices, vindictive and heartless murders, and immoral sexual actions. It touches on the social-economic power of the rich over the poor, the hierarchical obedience of lower social classes, the corrupt politics, and the under-regulated business practices; money is the all-powerful source of evil, creating a culture that can be bought, sold and bartered out of any illegal or wrong activities, including murder.

The film unnecessarily shows "The Housemaid" to the mother and daughter and uses it as a continuation to this story, where the daughter, Nami, has now grown up into the only good and moral adult, the mother, Kyungsun, still controls the power and wealth of the family, while the father, Kyungsun, continues his loose (irresponsible) sexual behaviors – sleeping with maids and whomever he deems suitable. The son, Chul, follows in his father’s footsteps by fooling around with actresses and doing corrupt business practices. The family is portrayed as a group of cold and heartless souls where money is their only love.

The father finally discovers love and tries to set himself free from the world of money and evil when he falls for a Filippino maid, Eva. Yet, once immersed in this life, finding a way out while still saving the famly face is an impossible task.

The last half hour or so becomes a comedy that alters the behavior of the characters from the first half into someone else. Youngjak, an obedient and submissive private secretary with no display of will-power, suddenly becomes bold enough to challenge the family and brother. An odd sex scene in a plane involves having the panties on and to the side – it serves no protection or enjoyment purpose. The death of Eva turns into a mystery of either a ghost or an undead woman in a coffin that rain can pour into. Who builds coffins with holes on top that would allow rain to pour into it?

"Do-Nui Mat" started out promising as a good, dramatic film until the ending became too silly and lacked a strong closing.

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