19 November 2013
Movie Review: The Depths
I had no information, not even a misleading plot summary, before watching this movie. Unfortunately for me, the first 15 minutes are slow and almost impossible to devise a coherent narrative via thematic apperception. However slow the story unfolds, it unfolds and then picks up speed.
When I was just leaving my adolescence, this half-Japanese, half-Taiwanese young man (from a filthy rich family) was foisted upon me. He was apparently an applicant to be an older professional's "kept boy" and when he didn't make the shortlist, the old man recommended that he become friends with me to get an idea of how to make intelligent conversation, etc., -- at least this is what he told me. I always found that hard to believe because I couldn't imagine my anarchism with Marxist characteristics being the kind of finishing school for "kept boys" of the neoliberal elite. In any event, we were wildly attracted to one another and, I think, spent more time naked, cuddling and making out, in my dorm bed for the week we spent together than anything else. In fact, if I recall correctly, my roommate athlete must have gotten some ideas from this -- when he'd come in and out -- because I recall we started our own relationship shortly after this.
What I took from that -- and which has little to do with this movie -- was that the Japanese style porn where the "school girl" or the bottom gay guy whines/cries has 0% turn on for me. In fact, its a negative because even if he was super attractive and pleasant to touch, that whining turned beauty into revulsion. I could understand his neurotic need to "just wanting to please" me. I fully understood that. But ultimately I think the fact that the whining/rape-theme didn't please me was where he drew his boundary and that, in the end, was that. Maybe it was my criticisms of his luxury-type sports car that also had an effect.
Anyways, as you can see, the movie has this kind of meandering frayed-edges type of narrative, that got triggered in me for me to recount the above. But the threads eventually weave into a highly charged, violently Korean, cathartic story of how our own complexes and general cultural propriety can really fuck up the lives of so many people and where it seems obvious that love should rule, the will to power does. The movie was so brilliant in its subtlety that by the final 1/3rd of the movie, you've almost forgotten the slow beginning.
This movie is definitely an ode to the married gay guy phenomenon and although tragic as that narrative is, but unlike Bungee Jumping of their Own, the story leaves open a future. I look forward to a trajectory of Korean married-gay-guy-cinema that is neither tragedy nor farce.