The South Korean director Kim Ki-duk made a persuasive bid for respectability with 2003’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, a serene Buddhist meditation on aging and rebirth. But he’s much more comfortable doing shocking comedies. His latest, an explicit take on the same tensions mined in August: Osage County, has a crazy-haired mom (Lee Eun-woo, fierce) first seen wrestling on the floor with her unfaithful husband, fighting for the telltale cell phone. A sullen teenage son watches nervously from the sidelines; he has no idea how fully he’s going to suffer for his father’s infidelity. It’s a brutal physical misfortune that his shamed dad will then turn on himself, via an understanding surgeon.
The rest of Moebius is a sick series of Internet penile-research scenes, weird sexual encounters involving rocks and switchblades, and eerie revenge moments. It pains me to reveal that not a single word is spoken in the film. Such is Kim’s plotty momentum that the whole thing feels like an extreme joke made of pained silences, one that somehow strips bare the subtext of overbearing parents. Meryl Streep herself couldn’t improve on it.
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