The Beast 비스트 (Biseuse) (2019) - South Korea
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
In depicting moral values, corruption and total destruction of the humanity, director Jung-ho Lee crafted the intense thriller “The Beast” into a dystopia. Remaking the French corruption thriller, Lee manages to bring new life into the genre with insightful details on costs of rising the ranks within Korean society, internal and external politics in the cops world and how the underprivileged will forever be grounded in their own regime. The gap of poor and rich, the weak and powerful is dutifully magnified through the various crime scenes and investigations. The film hold together impeccable by veteran actors in Lee Sung-min and the always sensational TV actor Yoo Jae-Myung. The duo shows the core of corruption and bring Lord Action’s vision to brutal reality - “how humans tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Lee Sung-min plays the tough and no-barred cop who is one big case from rising the ranks in the police world. Corrupted and riding on the thin blurred line, Lee shows how difficult one’s journey can be when the wrong step is taken whether out of good or bad intention. Complimentary to Lee’s strong performance is Yoo Jae-Myung whose commanding display is once again for all to endure. Yoo is always impressive in his demeanour and his conflicted emotions in his fight for power over Lee becomes a consuming factor in his own demise as a human being. Jeon Hye-jin, Kim Ho-jung and Choi Daniel rounds out the outstanding supporting ensemble cast of various shades and dark light of society.
All in all, “The Beast” is suitably intense and director Lee manages to breathe new life in a crowded genre market. Human corruption and moral core values are all on display with full depiction of rounded characters and their personal motivations that often contradict with goodwill. Whilst, the film is by no means perfect and contains plenty of flaws in its plot line, “The Beast” manages to entertain and convey its message out there.
I rated it 8/10
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