This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Lise’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Kim Ki-duk's Moebius is by far his most daring film. This twisted tale of revenge, remorse, severed body parts, self-mutilation, rape and incest knows no boundaries. The cringe-worthy drama turns to disgust then to laugh-out loud absurdity, without a single word spoken in the film's 90 minutes. I am still trying to figure out how he did that. It truly is quite the feat.
It isn't the type of film I would ever have watched were it not for its director. I had obvious trepidation knowing some of its subject matter before hand, but I trusted this director. 3-Iron and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring are so beautifully understated, and yet I also knew Kim had a penchant for the disturbing as displayed in The Isle and Pieta.
Moebius shows the lengths at which a man will go to ensure a life of sexual gratification, and Kim's being so unabashedly up front about it was refreshing and hilarious in that very very dark kind of way. He goes so far as to imply that a man's penis is so interlinked with a man's identity that when a guilt-ridden man swears off having affairs his penis will only 'work' for his wife, even when that penis is transplanted to someone else.
There is one segment in particular where I saw social commentary that wasn't Kim's intention. A gang rape occurs not too long after the penis mutilation scene. I am hoping that the shock and disgust of the penis mutilation will make everyone see the gang rape scene as similar: a mutilation, ripping and tearing of female parts; an act of violence so horrendous that no one should be expected to watch without groaning in pain. I hope this is how many will view this segment, but I doubt it. I'm fairly certain Kim didn't mean it to be seen that way. Given his misogynistic tendencies I'm fairly certain he meant it as just another thing a man can't do when he loses his penis. The scene is, after all, about the main character trying to fit into a gang.
The last thing I would have chosen to see at TIFF or anywhere else for that matter is Moebius. This was selected purely based on the director and in spite of the film's description. The fact that this strange mix of gore, drama, black comedy and social commentary gripped me throughout is utterly amazing. The fact that it was presented without a single word being spoken is just plain genius.