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'Beasts Clawing at Straws' is nail-biting crime film

From left, actors Jung Woo-sung, Youn Yuh-jung, Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-been and Jung Ga-ram pose for a picture during a press conference for new film
From left, actors Jung Woo-sung, Youn Yuh-jung, Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-been and Jung Ga-ram pose for a picture during a press conference for new film "Beasts Clawing at Straws" in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Award-winning actors Jeon Do-yeon and Jung Woo-sung teamed up to take on a new challenge with a chilling two-sided transformation in crime thriller film "Beasts Clawing at Straws." In the upcoming film, the two will exhibit how ordinary people turn into hard-hearted beasts for a lump sum of money.

It is an adaptation of Japanese detective novel "Wara nimo Sugaru Kemonotachi" by Keisuke Sone, although the ending of the film differs from that of the book.

"I loved the script, and the film does not conform to the generic conventions of the typical crime genre," Jeon said during a press conference for the film in Seoul, Monday.

"Beasts Clawing at Straws" by rookie director Kim Yong-hun is a crime film that revolves around eight distinctive characters who chase after a mysterious money bag. Instead of all roads leading to the final money bag theft, the film puts the most focus on the characters and their attempts to win the dog-eat-dog game.

It features a cast of A-listed stars including Jeon, Jung, Youn Yuh-jung and Bae Sung-woo, all of whom prove lively characters in the flick.

Each character is in a difficult situation and the promise of money brings out the beast in every one of them.

For instance, Yeon-hee (played by Jeon) tries live a new life with the money by putting an end to her job as a bar hostess. Tae-young (played by Jung) is in trouble after his girlfriend runs away with the money he borrowed from a loan shark.

Jung-man (played by Bae) barely gets by working at a sauna and takes care of his sick mother until he finds a bag full of cash in a locker room and reveals his beastly side.

It is also full of mayhem mixed with an emotionally conflicted, winner-take-all sensibility, according to the director.

"It's just unbelievable. I feel so honored and grateful that many great actors participated in my first commercial film. If I were a baseball player, it'd be like being called up to play in the All Star League right after making my debut," director Kim said.

"I was curious as how things would change with me in the picture. That is one of the reasons I decided to participate," Jung said. "Tae-young tries to act like a lion in the forest when he's just a puppy dog, and I find it hilarious."

Director Kim compared the film to a relay race, as the audience can glide from following one character to another through every change of circumstance.

The film will hit local theaters on Feb. 12.


From left, actors Jung Woo-sung, Youn Yuh-jung, Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-been and Jung Ga-ram pose for a picture during a press conference for new film
From left, actors Jung Woo-sung, Youn Yuh-jung, Jeon Do-yeon, Shin Hyun-been and Jung Ga-ram pose for a picture during a press conference for new film "Beasts Clawing at Straws" in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Award-winning actors Jeon Do-yeon and Jung Woo-sung teamed up to take on a new challenge with a chilling two-sided transformation in crime thriller film "Beasts Clawing at Straws." In the upcoming film, the two will exhibit how ordinary people turn into hard-hearted beasts for a lump sum of money.

It is an adaptation of Japanese detective novel "Wara nimo Sugaru Kemonotachi" by Keisuke Sone, although the ending of the film differs from that of the book.

"I loved the script, and the film does not conform to the generic conventions of the typical crime genre," Jeon said during a press conference for the film in Seoul, Monday.

"Beasts Clawing at Straws" by rookie director Kim Yong-hun is a crime film that revolves around eight distinctive characters who chase after a mysterious money bag. Instead of all roads leading to the final money bag theft, the film puts the most focus on the characters and their attempts to win the dog-eat-dog game.

It features a cast of A-listed stars including Jeon, Jung, Youn Yuh-jung and Bae Sung-woo, all of whom prove lively characters in the flick.

Each character is in a difficult situation and the promise of money brings out the beast in every one of them.

For instance, Yeon-hee (played by Jeon) tries live a new life with the money by putting an end to her job as a bar hostess. Tae-young (played by Jung) is in trouble after his girlfriend runs away with the money he borrowed from a loan shark.

Jung-man (played by Bae) barely gets by working at a sauna and takes care of his sick mother until he finds a bag full of cash in a locker room and reveals his beastly side.

It is also full of mayhem mixed with an emotionally conflicted, winner-take-all sensibility, according to the director.

"It's just unbelievable. I feel so honored and grateful that many great actors participated in my first commercial film. If I were a baseball player, it'd be like being called up to play in the All Star League right after making my debut," director Kim said.

"I was curious as how things would change with me in the picture. That is one of the reasons I decided to participate," Jung said. "Tae-young tries to act like a lion in the forest when he's just a puppy dog, and I find it hilarious."

Director Kim compared the film to a relay race, as the audience can glide from following one character to another through every change of circumstance.

The film will hit local theaters on Feb. 12.


Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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