Joo Young-jak is the private male secretary of Baek Geum-ok, middle-aged heiress and wife of a rich chaebol. Baek covets Joo’s young body, and he has already sold his pride for money a long time ago. What tangles up their relationship is the appearance of Baek’s daughter Na-mi. Na-mi shows an interest in Young-jak, and he is also attracted to this girl who is so different from her money-is-everything parents.
Im Sang-soo (born April 27, 1962) is an award-winning South Korean film director and screenwriter. Im was born in Seoul. He studied sociology at Seoul’s Yonsei University before making a move to The Korean Academy of Film Arts in 1989. He began working in film that same year, landing his first job as Park Jeong-won’s assistant director on Kuro Arrirang (was coincidentally also the first film of Choi Min-sik, who also acted in Shiri and Oldboy).
Following graduation from the Academy of Film Arts, Im worked as an assistant director under Kim Young-bin on Kim’s War (1994). In 1995 Im wrote the screenplay for The Eternal Empire, and also the screenplay A Noteworthy Film, which won him the Creation Prix at the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Scenario Competition.
In 1998 Im landed his first directorial gig. Girls’ Night Out, a drama about three women in Korea, caused a controversy upon release due to the frank and sexually driven dialogue and has received mixed, almost polarized… read more
Not as polished and convincing as The Housemaid remake. There is no tension, no surprises, no nuances. But the biggest flaw is that the film lacks perversity. This Borgia family is nowhere as evil as it has been described. Ultimately, the taste of money falls flat.
Im Sang-soo has a knack for making South Korean society appear as decadent and doomed as the final days of Rome. In "The Taste of Money," a wealthy patriarch's indiscretions leave room for a young errand boy to ascend the company ranks. Unfortunately, this spiritual successor to "The Housemaid" isn't nearly as pleasurable as that effort. Sang-soo misjudges scenes with an overabundance of poorly delivered English dialogue, self-conscious callbacks to his previous film, and a worrying streak of anti-feminism. The filmmaker seems to want to rub the Korean bourgeois' nose in their own filth, but for all of Im Sang-soo's heavy-handed moralizing the squeaky clean do-gooders we're supposed to root for aren't half as convincing as the gilded world they hold in so much contempt.
I agree with many of your points and yet still find this to be a compelling, endlessly fascinating film. A lot of your misgivings--the anti-feminism, the awkward English dialogue, and the unconvincing heroes--felt to me like natural elements of Im's critique and surrealistic atmosphere, but your comments do give me some helpful caution that I will think about. Thanks!
Lacks the fatalistic unease of Housemaid, yet has something else stranger on offer. Taste unfolds like a mystery, with murder and sabotage that wouldn't be out of place in a giallo save for one thing: whodunnit is of no importance. We know who but it doesn't matter. Im's compositions are still first-rate, even among South Koreans, as he/his leads chase some singularly strange and ugly truth. Who knows if he found it?
The festival arrives at a close, with films in competition from David Cronenberg, Sergei Loznitsa, Im Sang-soo, and Jeff Nichols.
On the opening day of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival: a poster round-up of the films in competition.
Cronenberg, Resnais, Carax, Hong, Kiarostami, Reygadas, Wakamatsu, Miike…
Followups to The Housemaid and City of Life and Death.