For fans of modern South Korean cinema, there are few names that carry as much respect as Bong Joon-ho, the man behind a variety of new classics, including The Host, Memories of Murder, Barking Dogs Don’t Bite, and Snowpiercer. Park Chan-wook, Na Hong-jin, and Hong Sang-soo deserve to be spoken in the same breath, but Joon-ho is not unlike Korea’s answer to J.J. Abrams, a technically astute filmmaker with a populist edge that nevertheless knows how to make a smart, thematically dense movie. And like Abrams, his influence can be felt outside of his own unimpeachable ouevre, especially in the upcoming Sea Fog – Haemoo in its native language – which Joon-ho co-penned and produced. You can check out the trailer for the film below.
Directed by Shim Sung-bo, who co-wrote Memories of Murder with Joon-ho, the film tells of the doomed Captain Kang, who desperately takes on a dangerous smuggling job when he becomes strapped for money. Stowing a cadre of people in the hull of his boat, Kang runs into trouble from his crew, the coast guard, and the people below as well, even as he deals with the vagaries of the weather and his ship. No fair revealing what happens from there, but let’s be clear: Sea Fog, like this year’s superb The Wailing, makes a case that South Korea is making the absolute best blockbusters in the world today. And while we wait for Joon-ho to finish his next monster movie, Okja, Sea Fog is a reminder of his deft screenwriting but also that he is only one of a dozen or so talented filmmakers working out of Korea today that could galvanize audiences exhausted by Marvel, Star Wars, and DC.
Here’s the trailer for Sea Fog (Haemoo):
Here’s the plot synopsis for Sea Fog (Haemoo):
Kang, a long time captain of the Junjin, is disheartened to learn that his ship has been sold by its owner, leaving Kang’s entire crew in danger of losing their livelihood. Swallowing his pride, Kang pays a visit to Yeo, a human trafficking broker, and decides to take on the dangerous job of smuggling illegal migrants into South Korea. When the Junjin arrives at the pickup point, a violent storm forces the boat to stall in the open waters, inevitably pitting Kang’s crew against the migrants. As tension and unrest spread throughout the Junjin, a dense sea fog envelops the boat, and tragedy unfolds in the mysterious depths of the fog…