Moss is the latest from director Kang Woo-Suk, takes a turn away from the popular filmmaker’s traditional historical dramas, like Silmido, to dabble in the psychological mystery thriller. As one of the top grossing Korean films of 2010, I wanted to tackle this film because I was really excited to see this. The film has been criticized for its violence, bloody shootings, brutal beating, impalements; yup, it’s all here. The storyline involves a corrupt cop, he now resides over the town with apparent respect and appreciation from all. The film succeeds to about the halfway point until its narrative weight becomes overwhelming and it starts to collapse in on itself ahead of a fiery finale.
Recommended for fans of gritty HK cop/gangster films, point blank. The rapid fire, hand held style may have kept things moving and allowed for the film to be shot in close quarters but at the same time the camera moves so much and the cuts are so rapid that its hard to get a handle on what your watching. It does get surprisingly bloody and brutal in places, especially towards the inevitable climatic showdown. I’m a big gore hound so even if the plot is a bust, I love anticipating a scene to see some violence.
Its not a bad film as such, but its the first film in a long while where I feel that it wasn’t worth the effort to see it or to pick it up. Aside from violence, the film focuses on each character’s situation and motivations, and we learn that each has been marginalized. It really can be a chore sometime to watch but if you tough it out, everything does come together at the end. Back-stories were produced at the right time and we never knew too much before we had to. The soundtrack is equally nice, which features a dark moody score and just a little off-beat.
The Moss is indeed sometimes so obscure that little is seen, but if you focus, you have quite the sophisticated show in urban decay in pure culture. Visually the film is quite accomplished, however I just wish the rest of the film kept the same pace. There’s a lot of different plot threads in the air in the second half, and the sex scenes were pretty pointless. Its characters may not get to live their lives in a fairy tale, but they can make things better. If anything, you can walk away from this movie with that positive message in frame. There’s still value in The Moss, and Derek Kwok remains a director to watch.