So far, it’s looking like disappointment all around. Let’s begin with Maggie Lee in Variety: “Even with such heady ingredients as sex, power and murder, there’s little flavor to The Taste of Money, a trite and tangled potboiler that, despite its polemical pretensions, is just a glorified Korean domestic drama with classier couture and shapelier champagne flutes. Im Sang-soo’s dubious follow-up to The Housemaid escalates plot and perfs from baroque to rococo without eliciting either sympathy or indignation, instead merely reveling in the insight that rich people are bastards.”
“The Taste of Money (Do-nui Mat), which quotes not only The Housemaid (2010) but also Kim Ki-young’s original 1960 version, most probably has even bigger and more sumptuous sets,” writes Dan Fainaru in Screen. “The story, however, takes the allegory all the way into the realm of the absurd, a farfetched parody woven around the wealthiest family in Korea where every one of its members plotting against the others and every one of its servants lurking in the shadows to get a piece of the action.”
“You have to really want to say ‘F*** you’ to anyone watching your work to make a black comedy as rancid as The Taste of Money,” growls Simon Abrams at Press Play. “For comparison’s sake: both versions of The Housemaid focus on a working-class domestic who suffers a hilarious psychotic breakdown on refusing to be bought off by her corrupt bosses, who naturally come from old money. The Taste of Money‘s two hirelings reluctantly climb the corporate ladder and look on in mute disdain while their screwy bosses literally screw each other over, acting like rejected antagonists from Passions. Im actively encourages laughter at hysterical, one-dimensional protagonists. This aggressively broad satire is designed to needle everybody and satisfy no one.”
“Pretty to look at and dressed up with high fashion, amusing characters and stylish sex, the film holds its camp potential always a tempting hair’s-breadth away,” writes Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. “When moralizing drama finally prevails, ennui resurfaces, leaving disappointment in its wake.”
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