Thursday, 10 April 2014

[Review] Möebius


So let me set the scene for you. A man in his early forties is having an affair with a much younger woman. His scornful wife catches him in the act. In a fit of rage, his wife attempts to cut off his penis while he sleeps. However, her plan is thwarted as her husband wakes up and kicks her away. Much to her chagrin, the mother then turns her attention to their sleeping teenage son instead. The sins of the father come back to haunt the son as she proceeds to cut off his penis. Then she swallows it much to the sheer horror of both the father and son. The mother then runs off hysterically into the night leaving the father and son to deal with the ramifications of her actions.

Keep in mind; this all takes place within the opening ten minutes of Möebius. If you’ve made it this far without fleeing the room in disgust then congratulations, Möebius will most likely appeal to you. Carrying on with the Oedipal themes last seen in his 2012 film Pieta, the infamous South Korean auteur Kim Ki Duk carves up yet another slice of dysfunctional family mayhem.

This time around, the Oedipal themes are presented with less of a sombre and thoughtful tone. Instead, it seems that Kim Ki-Duk is aiming for an extreme level of transgressive comedy (albeit pitch black comedy). Möebius is quite simply an old-fashioned Greek tragedy as told by Kim Ki Duk. It’s the tragedy that might have once played out in the annals of a blood soaked orgy-infested ancient Roman theatre. To say that it owes a debt to the likes of ‘Oedipus Rex’ is an understatement at best.

It’s a film filled with rape, male castration, self-abrasion, misogyny, incest, and bullying. The fact that it features no spoken dialog only helps to lend it a desired playwright style. This is a silent film that is entirely dependent on expressive performance. Thankfully, the small contingent of assembled actors is well up to the task at hand as they carry the film effortlessly. Even though these characters can come across as borderline comical, there are still moments of serious hard-hitting drama. The film is played entirely straight by its cast. The family dynamic between the father and the son becomes a major focal point after the matriarch disappears from the house.

The father is left feeling a mixture of shame, guilt and regret for how his sins have come back to haunt the son. The father goes as far as having his own penis removed in the hope of donating it for transplant as penance for his own sins.  Certainly, there is a notion that the loss of masculinity helps the father and son to bond as they find themselves sharing tips on how to orgasm without the penis. Even with their world in complete disarray, the father and son find themselves bonding a little closer through this ordeal. That is until the matriarch returns and all hell breaks loose in the final act.

I would assume that at least a good segment of Cinema goers would automatically despise Möebius. The extremity of the content on offer will no doubt  split the audience right down the middle. For the rest of us out there, well we know who we are. Möebius is cinema at its most raw and transgressively brilliant.

★★★★
(out of Five)

Originally Posted Over at Neon-Maniacs.com by yours truly.

-Daniel M

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