Where to begin with Moebius? A South Korean film written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk, Moebius premiered out of competition at the Venice Film Festival and quickly earned a reputation for being one of the most f*cked up movies. Ever. It has been referred to as controversial, insane and repulsively funny. Moebius is the kind of film that will have you thinking about it for days and you will either love it or hate it. I don't know that it's possible to watch this film and have ambiguous feelings towards it.
With absolutely no dialogue, Moebius is, at it's very basic, a tale of the sins of the father being visited upon the son. The father in question is having an affair and his wife has hit her limit with this knowledge. Deciding that castrating her husband is the way to effectively deal with the situation, she grabs a knife and confronts him only to have him manage to save himself. Well, this isn't good enough for her, so she goes into their son's room and she cuts his penis off. As the son sits in a pool of blood screaming, his father tries to retrieve the severed appendage, but the mom gets to it first and she puts the penis in her mouth. Yes, you read that correctly. Ultimately, she swallows it and flees from their home in a state of panic. Did I mention that this is a black comedy? A very, very, very black comedy and yes, I did guffaw in shock when she swallowed her son's penis.
I know, you're thinking to yourself, I've seen castration in a movie; big deal. Well, we have a second castration in Moebius and it has a legitimately darkly funny conclusion. You want more? Alright, well, this movie has a gang rape and also delves into the twisted and complex relationship between pleasure and pain. Desperate to find a way to help his son, the father finds information on the internet about using stones to scrape your skin until the pain filters itself into an orgasm. Watching both the father and the son rub a rock over the top of their foot until they cum is 100% cringe inducing.
As the son explores the pleasure/pain avenue further, he develops a uniquely complex relationship with the woman that he pretended to rape (yup) and the two find release both emotionally and physically in one another. Substituting a knife in the shoulder for a literal penis, this is one of the strangest sex scenes I've ever seen and I've sat through a lot of horror parody porn films. The thing about Moebius is, I loved every second that this movie spent making me uncomfortable.
All three of our actors committed to this so fully and with such bravery that it's impossible to not become emotionally entangled with them. A movie with not one single word uttered, tells a grand and complex tale with nothing more than looks and guttural noises. Infidelity, incest, rape, revenge, guilt, rage, remorse and forgiveness are all explored and expressed through superb emotionally charged performances. Moebius is not a silent film, it is simply a film where our characters do not speak; they don't need to. Jae-hyeon Jo (father), Eun-woo Lee (mother & mistress) and Young-ju Seo (son) are absolutely fearless. Actually, is there a word for "beyond fearless" because that is what they are. The lack of dialogue forces the viewer to be that much more immersed in the world that Kim has created and it is undeniably effective. Truly, there are not enough over the top words to describe the levels of insanity, depravity and sheer mishegas that this movie hits and I say this as a compliment.
Moebius is the type of movie that is so wickedly divisive, that I would warn against seeing it if you prickle at any of the things that I mentioned above. After taking a few days to absorb and contemplate this film, I am absolutely in love with it. It's beautiful, impeccably acted, extremely discomforting, sickly funny and absolutely mesmerizing. Moebius may be the poster child for a "film that isn't for everyone", but it knows exactly what it's intellectual and emotional goals are and more than exceeds at achieving them.
You can read more reviews from Lisa at HaddonfieldHorror.com