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Film Review: Beasts Clawing at Straws 지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 짐승들(2020) - South Korea 🇰🇷

Andrew Chan beasts crawling at straws korean film

Film Review: Beasts Clawing at Straws 지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 짐승들(2020) - South Korea 🇰🇷


Reviewed by Andrew CHAN (Film Critics Circle of Australia)

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The film just never stop stop having fun and thrills till the very last scene of the most unexpected person striking lucky and walking away unscratched. “Beasts Crawling at Straws” directed and written by Kim Yong-hoon instantly reminds me of Johnnie To’s crime thrillers. It follows the same framed story, where everything, our decisions have a direct consequences or so-called karma to speak of. It is precisely this mood that Kim managed to create provides a film where you need to dance with the tempo just as the characters believe their luck is coming when we know what will happen next. The beauty of it all, is that all the characters are flawed in their own ways thus implying on our human conditions.


Jung Woo-sung kicks off as the custom  border officer who is in enormous debt due to his missing girlfriend (played with menace and precision by the always wonderful  Jeon Do-yeon). Jung is your typically struggler and in the process is somehow interconnected with the other stories running in parallel. Bae Seong-woo plays the locker cleaner who finds a LV bag of cash. Everything ends up intertwined with this bag of cash and the resulting deaths, accidents and happenings. Veteran Youn Yun-Jung plays the annoying Bae’s mother who gets to show some acting chops late in the game. Meanwhile, Shin Hyun-bin shines as the PR girl in an abusive relationship. It is her ultimate greed that ends up central to many of the turns of events about to unfold.


All in all, “Beasts Clawing at Straws” works well to its genre and even manages to be playful at many of its cliches. What made Kim’s work more exciting is the element of knowingness and karma where we expect something to happen to those that affected by simple greed and wants. It may be a simple LV bag of cash, but it ended up affecting the characters and situations in gruesome ways imagined. There is always a space in the market for these kind of movies and “Beasts Clawing at Straws” fills that void perfectly.


I rated it 8/10

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