Moebius Movie Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
DVD released by RAM Releasing
Written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk
2013, 91 minutes, Not Rated
Theatrically released on August 1st, 2014 | DVD released on October 28th, 2014
Young Ju Seo
Moebius is either an art film full of pretentious statements on the quality of life and our obsession with sexuality in the modern age or a hot mess of a film that is made simply as a challenge to the audience. Frankly, it doesn't matter which you choose, because it really fails either way. There is no spoken dialog or even character names in the entire movie. The plot is convoluted and full of obsequious and specious reasoning. It never once approaches a concise point of view and seems to subsist on a diet of David Cronenberg-like themes without Cronenberg's substance. I was reminded of Crash, not the Oscar nominated tale of one day in the big city, but the sordid yet compelling tale of fetishists who get off on having sex with open wounds. That movie challenges its viewer and is full of disturbing emotions and characters, but doesn't come off as art for the sake of someone's bullshit perception of art.
The central conceit of the film is a philandering husband caught by his vengeful wife, who, in turn plans to attack and cut off said husband's genitalia. Ok, that in and of itself seems almost reasonable and honest. However, when she fails, she inexplicably decides to attack their teenage son instead and successfully removes the offending appendage. The father, full of remorse and guilt over his role in this tragedy, decides to use a gun on himself to do the job his wife couldn't. Exit mom stage right and exit any sensible plot stage left.
Here's where it gets confusing, disturbing, confusing again, downright ponderous and back to confusing for the better part of an hour. This is also where some expository dialog may have helped. You really get no feel for any of the characters' motivations, other than some internet searches about how to achieve orgasm without a penis (which leads to the son getting off by getting stabbed) and successful penis transplant (and them trying to obtain a donor penis). Then, the son gets a donor (ostensibly from a cadaver?) but can only get aroused by his mother, who shows back up from nowhere with nary a care from anyone involved, except the son, who's just happy to get off again. Got all that? Good. Now you never need to see this film and your life can go on as it was.
One last thought: Sometimes with some of these art-house movies you may not "get" what the makers were going for, but they'll be filled with enough stunning imagery and incredible cinematography or camera work to make you almost forget you got nothing from the experience. Moebius is not one of those films. It looks washed out and the obviously hand-held camera work was done by someone who may want to be checked by a doctor for their constant tremor problem. It's the final nail in the coffin that is Moebius. I'm giving it a star for the simple fact that I didn't resort to gouging my eyes and the son's emoting (can't really call it acting without words to say) at least tried to convey feelings.