In the opening scene of Beasts Clawing at Straws, a big Louis Vuitton bag is stuffed into a locker. As the end credits roll, we see the same bag again in close-up, but in someone else’s hands. In the time between these two shots, director Kim Yonghoon presents a host of characters in his beautifully constructed crime drama, all of whom are hell-bent on putting the others out of the game.
Having gone bankrupt, Joong-Man is forced to move back in with his mother, who has Alzheimer’s. He finds the bag full of money in a locker at a public baths, and sees it as the solution to all his (financial) problems. Customs official Tae-Young is also urgently in search of money, as his girlfriend has run off with the capital he borrowed from a shady moneylender. Mi-Ran has lost a fortune on the stock market and is now working as a 'hostess' to earn it back again. One day, an amorous client offers to kill her violent husband for her.
Formerly an assistant to Jang Jin – who was subject of a retrospective at IFFR 2015 – Kim’s feature debut conjures up a whirlwind of greed, revenge and other human shortcomings. In spite of the at times cynical violence, he nevertheless evokes sympathy for the fates of his characters. In this, he is ably assisted by a great cast, including Jung Woosung from Asura: City of Madness and Jeon Doyeon, award winner in Cannes for her lead role in Secret Sunshine.
Winner IFFR 2020 Special Jury Award.