Korean DVD corner: 이끼
A blockbuster hit (fourth amongst Korean films, seventh overall) presents itself in the form of an admired online comic’s recreation.
Removed from Korea’s metropolitan glitterati, this rural thriller focuses on the suspicious events surrounding the town’s spiritual guide’s, Ryoo Mok-hyeong, death. Upon his estranged son Ryoo Hae-gook’s (Park Hae-il) arrival for his father’s interment, a suspicious feeling permeates the country air concerning the religious leader’s passing and subsequent events pertaining to his earthly demise.
At the time of the elder’s Ryoo’s passing, his presence is shared with current village foreman Cheon Yong-deok (Jeong Jae-yeong). A man who only experiences sinister, self-sufficing thoughts, he presides over the city by way of totalitarian rule and authoritative means with his three dubious henchmen. Realizing the highly suspect nature of past events, Hae-gook prolongs his countryside retreat, seeking prosecutor Park Min-wook’s (Yoo Joon-sang) advice and counsel.
Hae-gook explores the town’s archaic history and formation, unearthing peculiar and uncanny events leading to Yong-deok’s reign. Yong-deok is not flattered by current events and a struggle to uncover buried truths is cast for the major characters to duel. Will cultural fallacies be revealed for all to see, or will they be concealed for future generations?
A dense movie saturated with numerous events, subplots, and twists, the movie impressively remains true to its original storyline for the film’s overwhelming three-hour duration. The balance among actors creates a cinematic smoothness and theatric cohesion throughout, producing an entertaining and gripping narrative from beginning to end.
The mysterious, climactic, and dramatic measures are welcomingly interrupted with comedic intervals to lighten the mood and tension, which could not possibly be sustained for nearly three hours. Numerous areas of cinematography are fused to create a unified success while not catapulting one certain element to the highest pedestal at another’s expense.
If you have the staying power to endure the film’s length, an entertaining and enjoyable example of cinema is in store.