The Taste of Money review – A destructive Korean thriller

Posted on 20 January 2014
By Charlie Elgar
  • Share:

Im Sang-soo continues his portrayal of South-Korea’s ultra-rich in this risqué drama, which began with his 2010 remake of The Housemaid.

The Taste of Money exposes the Yoons, an unimaginably wealthy family in control of one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates.

Company president Yoon lives in a more than luxurious mansion with his wife Baek Geum-ok, her father and adult children – Nami and Chul.

As is always the case with people of such wealth, there are often quite a few underlying relations that the eye-balling public are unaware of. Thanks to inquisitive characters however, and a sneak peak of the family’s lives from the CCTV control room, we see that things aren’t so simple for the mega-rich.

Nearly all of the key characters finds themselves lead on a path of destruction as numerous complications arise between them, resulting in what seems a confused triangle of sexual acts between the family, and as many butlers and waitresses they can seem to get their hands on.

Im Sang-soo’s work has been described in a number of ways, all of which boil down to a somewhat ‘erotic thriller’. Yes it’s true, there is virtually no escaping the sex scenes in this movie – whether you want to or not!

The overall plot of this movie lacks intrigue, particularly when our hopes are raised by a few promising sub-plots that rise to attention, but then disappointingly seem to crumble away unresolved. The issues that arise for the family are foreseeable by a viewer paying sufficient attention, leaving the overall plot slightly stale and predictable. The director does use his camera well, however, highlighting well the inescapable materialism that is more than prominent in the lives of our main characters.

There appears to be a disappointing irony within the film, with the story of this particular family not being too dissimilar from others in the Asian society. It seems the importance of wealth is something unparalleled and unmatched in this lifestyle, concluding in friends and family evolving into backstabbing animals. It becomes obvious that all the money in the world is not enough for some people, with an ugly greed projecting from the films main characters.

Mentioning this, it could be suggested that there may be a slightly deeper meaning to the film than initially meets the eye. Corruption and greed rise to the surface in this egocentric portrayal of those powerful people we so frequently hear about, implying that this could be the case for many organisations we often find ourselves controlled by.