Park In-je's conspiracy flick "Moby Dick" had little to say at the box office when it was released early June. Its promise of thrilling action and a gripping plot seem to have been confined to the film's enticing trailer and promotional posturing. With an undecided visual aesthetic and damp directorial story telling, your "Moby Dick" experience should be limited to its theatrical trailer or Herman Melville's classic novel.
A surveillance camera shows the fictional bridge of Balam on the outskirts of Seoul. Traffic is flowing along side it like it would on any other day, but not for long. A lone van can be seen crossing the bridge and, when it reaches halfway, an explosion engulfs the bridge, leaving nothing but smoke, unanswered questions, and a conspiracy that transcends governments and all other accountable seats of power. This opening scene starts things off well enough but, as the story progresses, you can't be faulted for thinking that Park In-je might have had more success if he left the story telling to static street cameras.
Veteran print media journalist Lee Bang-woo (Hwang Jung-min) is on the case with the support of his newly appointed, and extremely polite, college Son Jin-gi (Kim Sang-ho); a computer savvy co-worker named Seong Hyo-gwan (Kim Min-hee); and his old friend, and now fugitive, Yoon Hyeok (Jin Goo). Together they take up the challenge to clear the cloud, or rather mist, of unanswered questions shrouding the Balam bridge bombing.
The story outreaches itself as characters become stale and the plot never really thickens. As the film stumbles towards its impotent climax I was left feeling frustrated and unimpressed. Maybe it was the liberties Park took with some of film's hinges, or the unrealized visual consistency that he struggled to find synergy with, but the overall tone of film was flaccid and almost pointless. Harsh, indeed, but the uninspired plot never managed to take flight and all remained was the shell of what might have once been a decent idea.
-C.J. Wheeler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Available on DVD from YESASIA
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