The Beast is a South Korean thriller written and directed by Lee Jung-Ho (Broken, Best Seller). It is a free remake of the French film Pending Issues (Olivier Marchal, 2004). Two detectives will face each other to catch the murderer of a girl, whoever gets it will be promoted.
It stars Lee Sung-min (Infiltrated in the North, The Attorney), Yoo Jae-Myeong ( Way Back Home, One Day), Ahn Seong-Bong ( Take Point, Feng Shui), Daniel Choi, Kim Ho-jung, and Ok Ja-Yeon. The film, after going through the BCN Film Festival, opens in Spanish cinemas, distributed by Alfa Pictures, on July 24, 2020.
A girl is found with amputated limbs. Two detectives, Han-su and Min-tae, long-standing rivals, will handle the case. Initially, this is easily resolved when Han-su arrests the alleged suspect, but even so, it soon becomes a mystery when Min-tae raises suspicions about the recently arrested.
Meanwhile, Han-su runs into someone who insists that he knows the real culprit. Furthermore, this curious character kills a drug dealer in front of him and will propose a secret pact. The time will soon come when Han-su must decide. ( Alfa Pictures Spain )
The remake of a French movie
In Korean cinema it is quite common to deal with remakes of other films, especially from other Asian countries. They are usually impregnated with the characteristic style of their recent cinematography, to the point that they could perfectly pass as original films. This is the case of The Beast, the new action thriller directed by Lee Jung-Ho, which is freely inspired by the French film Pending Issues (Olivier Marchal, 2004).
The plot is much darker than that of the original Gallic. If there, the policemen played by Daniel Auteuil and Gérard Depardieu, had to capture a band of jewel thieves and, by the way, fight over a woman, in this new version, that romantic subplot has been eliminated and the robbers are replaced by a psychopath who kidnaps, tortures and murders girls. That makes the tone of this new version more dark and gloomy.
In short, what really matters in both is the confrontation of the two policemen for trying to solve the case before the other and thus obtain a promotion within the police force.
Policemen as antiheroes
The ramifications of the main plot end up hurting the global narrative. The Beast’s lack of focus on the criminal investigation makes a film that takes too much for granted somewhat confusing. And is that this relationship of insane competitiveness between the two policemen is never explained enough. We are spared too much necessary information about his past, to make us understand his way of acting and the origin of that terrible enmity.
However, between the lunges of the script, we find very powerful sequences and a visual treatment in line with the best tradition of Korean cinema. The more exaggerated it is, the more attractive it becomes. That is why the best thing about the film is the whole final part and the sequences where the action, blood and suspense are concentrated.
An unhealthy atmosphere serves as the setting for a film where the words justice, legality or morality are blurred. The leading police officers, representatives and servants of the Law, will cross several red lines with the aim of hunting the murderer and, by the way, showing that they are the best for the job. The ethical debate could have given more play with a greater psychological depth of the characters, but in many moments this anarchic commitment to the antihero is stimulating and sufficient.
Conclusion of ‘The Beast’
The Beast is aSouth Korean thriller written and directed by Lee Jung-Ho. It is a remake of the French film Pending Issues (Olivier Marchal, 2004), introducing some significant modifications to its plot. It does not bring many new features to the genre, but it is interesting and very entertaining. His careful photography combines the stylized visual aspect of Asian neo-noir with the gruesome coldness of Nordic noir.
The story of the psycho-killer is reduced to an underground subplot that runs parallel to the true central story, that of the confrontation of the two policemen who seek to be the first to solve the case. It is true that we will lack information to better understand the motivations of those two characters who will get into the mud and challenge all the laws of professional ethics.
However, The Beast, is a film with enough visual power to ensnare us in your pictures. It has very well choreographed action sequences and moments of great suspense (the morgue, the assault on the murderer’s apartment, the outcome…). If you like Korean cinema and criminal intrigue, you will surely enjoy the proposal.