In an industrial area of Cheonggyecheon, South Korea, slated for immediate redevelopment, Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) is a loan-shark, working for a company that charges ten times the borrowed sum in interest. If their clients don’t pay up, Kang-do cripples them, using the insurance payments on their injuries to make up the difference. One day, however, he’s confronted by a mysterious, strange woman, Mi-sun (Cho Min-soo), who claims to be his long-lost mother, apologizing for abandoning him at birth. Initially shunning her, he eventually lets her into his home, and the two attempt an uneasy, uncomfortable (mostly for the audience…) relationship, which starts to prick Kang-do’s conscience regarding his profession.
- Lee Jung-jin, as Lee Kang-do
- Jo Min-su, as Jang Mi-sun
- Kang Eun-jin, as Myeong-ja, Hun-cheol's wife
- Woo Gi-hong, as Hun-cheol
The film won the Golden Lion prize at the 69th Venice International Film Festival. At its Venice press screening, it reportedly "elicited extremely mixed reactions". Hollywood director Michael Mann, who presided over the jury, said the film stood out because it "seduced you viscerally."
The film holds a 72/100 on Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes reports 73% approval among 52 critics. Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter described it as "an intense and, for the first hour, sickeningly violent film that unexpectedly segues into a moving psychological study." Young gave high praises to the film's acting performances, however states "it's not an exaggeration to say there's not a single pleasant moment in the film's first half" and "Viewers will keep their eyes closed" for the majority of the film.