The Taste of Money (돈의 맛) is a 2012 South Korean erotic suspense film about a conglomerate-owning family (chaebol). It triggered controversy and hype with its portrayal of the lives of the privileged in Korean society, exploring themes of sex and money, greed and ambition.
The film is acclaimed Korean director, Im Sang-soo‘s seventh film. He has twice been invited to compete for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, with The Housemaid in 2010 and now, The Taste of Money in 2012.
Im calls The Taste of Money, “an extension of The Housemaid. You can say that it’s the story of the children of The Housemaid who’ve grown up.” It is his exploration of the world outside the household portrayed in that movie — “What Hoon does outside the home, what kind of parents he has, an expansion of the scope of The Housemaid.”
I have watched The Housemaid in 2010 and enjoyed it very much. It’s an outright adult film, from the theme of power and corruption to the many sex and erotic scenes. I was really looking forward to catching the extension film and be shocked once again by the scanting portrayal of Korea’s chaebol families.
The Taste of Money delivers in this respect, as an entertaining, adult-themed film, but was not markably different from Im’s previous film to create a lasting impact.
The scene of the young, muscular male lead getting “raped” by the matriarch of the chaebol was pretty haunting though:
While The Taste of Money made many references to Im’s previous film, it can be watched as a stand-alone, without having seen The Housemaid.
I like it, just like how I enjoy watching adult-themed TV series like Dexter and The Sopranos. Sometimes, movies get tamed and toned down too much to achieve a more audience-friendly rating to sell more tickets.
If you are above 21, do go catch The Taste of Money when it is showing here! The film is rated R21 (not surprising given the adult theme and many nude scenes) and will be showing in Singapore from 2 August 2012 (next Thurs).
In a luxurious house outside Seoul lives one of the country’s richest families: company president Yoon (Baek Yoon-sik), his wife Baek Geum-ok (Yoon Yeo-jeong), their divorced daughter Nami (Kim Hyo-jin) and son Chul (On Joo-wan).
Yoon is company president but the reins of power are held by Geum-ok, whose aged father (Kwon Byung-gil) was once a powerful businessman and whom Yoon married for her money and influence. Yoon’s private secretary is Joo Young-jak (Kim Kang-woo), from humble origins, who follows his master’s bidding while looking for the right opportunity to capitalize on his position. His current job is making sure a US businessman, Robert Altman (Darcy Paquet), is kept happy with hookers, as part of a major business deal that could prove crucial to the family’s fortunes.
Geum-ok despises her husband’s obsession with money, and when she sees him having an affair with their Filipina maid, Eva (Maui Taylor), on her hidden CCTV, she beds Young-jak in revenge. When Chul is arrested for organizing a slush fund for Altman, Geum-ok decides to further punish her husband for his “mistake” in bringing the family’s name into public disrepute. Sidelined by the family, Young-jak turns for help to Na-mi, who seems to be the only level-headed member.