Sunday, 28 September 2014

Balls Deep in Madness! Moebius (2013)

Moebius (2013)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Starring: Jae-hyeon Jo, Eun-woo Lee, and Young-ju Seo
Running Time: 89 min

I love South Korean horror films, they have taken up where J-Horror has left off and are some of the most inventive, interesting and of course, the strangest films that I've seen of late.  Also, in the last couple of years, directors like, Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Stoker), Joon-ho Bong (Host, Snowpiercer) and Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, The Last Stand) have had a chance to work with some great "Hollywood" talent or have had their films optioned for North American remakes, like "Oldboy" and more recently, "I Saw The Devil".  So I was looking forward to seeing what kind of ultra violence was awaiting me in this film.  

Housewife/mom(?) has found out that her husband is cheating on her.  She follows him out one night and listens to her husband and his girlfriend copulating in the car outside their house.  When her husband gets home, she grabs a knife and tries to cut off his penis while he is sleeping.  However, her husband cock blocks or is it block cocks on her and shoos her away.  Still enraged and angry the woman decides to do the next best thing, which is to mutilate her teenage son and cut off his penis.  Makes sense right?  This time she succeeds and the teenage boy wakes up with a horrifying scream and a hand full of blood.  The woman also eats the penis to make sure that the doctors cannot reattach it. Thanks mom!  The father throws the housewife/woman/peniseatingmachine out of the house and brings his injured son to the hospital.
  After a night at the hospital, the father feels awful about what has happened because he feels that it's his fault this happened to his son and he begins to look up on the internet penis transplant methods.  You can really find anything on the web.  At school, some bullies find out that the boy has no penis and start picking on him.  Fortunately/Unfortunately (?), a group of rape happy hoodlums rescue him and he becomes a member of their gang.  His gang and him then rape the shop girl, who he has a crush on and they're all sent to jail.  While in jail his father discover on the web that if you rub a rock on your hand or foot enough you can have an orgasm and rushes to the jail with this information to his son.  And then the movie gets weird.  Will the loss of this boy's penis lead everyone down the even wronger path or will someone finally have the balls to stand up and stop this mayhem?

  It's a pretty crazy film and has some very strange intense scenes that may not be for everybody.  Veteran director Ki-duk Kim (3 Iron, Pieta) really pushes the boundaries with multiple, yes multiple penis mutilation scenes, gang rapes and a really weird incestuous relationships that leaves your head spinning.  Also, there is no dialogue in the film, so people who complain about subtitles, you'll be happy to know there are none.  There is sound but aside from the grunts, groans and the painful screams of the characters, Kim has chosen to somewhat masterfully tell the this story visually and using sound to complement each scene instead of words being the focus.

  Luckily the cast is up to the challenge with Jae-hyeon Jo (Bad Guy, The Weight) and Eun-woo Lee (Twilight Gangsters, An Ethics Lesson), who play the parents with such maddening perfection that they don't need words to push across the screen their characters emotional volatility and remorse.  As for the son, played by relatively new actor Young-ju Seo (The Thieves, Juvenile Offender), he becomes the real star of the film by giving the complexity and authenticity to the character that is necessary for the film to work and look forward to seeing him in future roles.

 However there are a few issues that I had with the film.  **Spoilers** Although, I like the idea of not having dialogue, it's difficult to gauge the relationship status of the women character that Eun-woo Lee plays.  If she is the mother, which I assume she is then the relationship with the son at the end is more unfitting and sick but if she is a girlfriend or step-mother then it doesn't seem as gross, still inappropriate but not as twisted. Also, I was surprised that the love interested for the boy, the girl in the shop was so willing to take him back after he fake raped her (he had no penis) with his buddies who did rape her.  Loved may conquer all, but I don't know about that.  I still think that it was a bit of a stretch but there are so many weird things going on here, that the leeway on things are obviously there. **End Spoilers**

    This is an interesting film for sure but I don't know if this will be up for a remake any time soon.   For an art house type film, it very cohesive and director Kim tells a very puzzling story that will have you mesmerized to your screen wondering what the hell is gonna happen next.  It's different, so it pushes the boundaries of film making and decency but isn't that the best kind of film. 

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