Taste of Money, A (Do-nui mat) (2012)

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Released 8-May-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Eastern Eye trailers x 4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 110:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sang-soo Im
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Yun-shik Baek
Hyo-jin Kim
Kang-woo Kim
Ju-wan On
Darcy Paquet
Maui Taylor
Yeo-Jung Yoon
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In A Taste of Money an insanely wealthy Korean corporate family act above the law, ruthlessly bribing politicians and corporate regulators while enjoying an extremely privileged lifestyle with good food and wine, maids, servants and prostitutes. Yet beneath the family’s façade lies a web of moral corruption, contempt and manipulation.

     As A Taste of Money opens Joo Young-jak (Kim Kang-woo) is stacking cash into suitcases under the direction of company Chairman Yoon Kyung-sun (Baek Yun-shik); this is a massive bribe to a Prosecutor to drop charges against Yoon’s son Chul (On Ju-wan), who is currently negotiating a business deal with an American conglomerate who want to avoid any scandal. Young-jak lives with the family in their extensive mansion and is on call for a range of duties, including driving and planting surveillance devices, but he also seems to have attracted the interest of Yoon’s beautiful daughter Na-mi (Kim Hyo-jin). However, all is not well within the family. While Yoon is the company chairman, he married into money and the real wealth and power is in the hands of his wife Baek Geum-ok (Yoon Yeo-jung), a powerful and unscrupulous manipulator, and her wheelchair bound father who retains links to organised crime.

     The Yoon marriage is cold and loveless, but civil. But when Geum-ok discovers that her husband is having sex with their Filipino maid Eva (Maui Taylor), and is intending to leave the country with her, she seduces the hapless Young-jak before acting to protect her family’s name and assets. As the power struggle within the family intensifies, Young-jak is drawn into the twisted labyrinth of family loyalty, money, sex and manipulation as events move towards their tragic resolution.

     A Taste of Money (Do-nui mat) is directed by Im Sang-soo, whose last film The Housemaid (2010 – which itself was a remake of the Korean classic The Housemaid from 1960) is also about money, sex and power. While A Taste of Money broadens the range of the earlier film to include the social and political structure of modern Korea at large, it is still a film focussed very specifically upon the inter-family relationships, and most of it is set within the Yoon mansion. This house is another character in the film; it is modern throughout, all chrome, glass and tile, antiseptic, cold and colourless, perfectly reflecting the family’s interrelationships. The colour palate of the film as a whole is also cold and dull, and it is no surprise that one of the few scenes with some colour and brightness is the sequence where Eva, her two young children, Yoon, Na-mi and Young-jak picnic on the beach. Freed of the smothering constraints of the family house, family power and family money, Yoon can be a different person. But soon enough they are all back within the web spread by Geum-ok, from which there seems no escape.

     This may sound as if Geum-ok is an out and out villain, but the strength of A Taste of Money is that all the characters, including Geum-ok and Yoon, do display dignity and have reasons for what they do, although everyone, even Young-jak, has been corrupted by wealth and power in some way, wealth and power that creates bonds that are difficult to escape. This concentration upon the machinations of characters who have a recognisable motivation means that A Taste of Money, while a melodrama, remains effective and interesting.

     A Taste of Money is a melodrama about sex, wealth and the rich and powerful, and the corruption inherent in unlimited money. Clearly, it seems that money does not result in happiness, but there are no over the top villains here and the film is always stylish and interesting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     A Taste of Money is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a very good print. Detail is sharp and crisp. Mostly filmed in interiors or at night, colours are dull and muted within the house especially, everything feeling constrained and closed in, but occasionally the screen opens out using a full widescreen frame that cinematographer Kim Woo-hyung (who was responsible for the energetic action scenes in The Front Line (2011)) holds steady for a long time, creating an interesting, and telling, contrast to the interiors. Throughout the film blacks are excellent, shadow detail very good, skin tones, contrast and brightness consistent.

     Artefacts and marks were absent.

     The layer change at 63:02 occurred in a scene change.

    English subtitles are in an easy to read yellow font and seemed to be timely and mistake free. There was a fair amount of English dialogue which was repeated in the subtitles, which did get a bit annoying.

     A very good looking print without technical issues.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     Dialogue was clear and centred. This is a film that does not require sonic fireworks and the surrounds and rears only come into use with the score and the occasional effect, such as car engines or the aircraft taking off at the end. There were a lot of silences and subtle music, which means that when the surrounds were utilised, such as in the swimming pool and torture sequences, the Foley sounds were noticeable and effective.

    Lip synchronisation was good.

     The audio track did all that was required.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:36)

Eastern Eye Trailers

     Trailers for The Housemaid (1:46), The King of Pigs (1:07), Ace Attorney (1:36) and The Front Line (2:12).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 3 Korean DVD of The Taste of Money is a two disc set, with a second disc of extras that total about 50 minutes, but while the feature has English subtitles, the extras don’t. The Region 1 US version includes as an extra a behind the scenes featurette running 25 minutes. For English speakers, the Region 1 looks the best option.

Summary

     A Taste of Money is about power, sex, manipulation, corruption . . . and money. The film looks beautiful and while a melodrama it remains effective and interesting.

     The video is very good, the audio does what is needed. A trailer is the only extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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