This tense, lavishly staged high-seas drama was produced by Bong Joon-ho and marks a spectacular directorial debut for his Memories of Murder collaborator Shim Sung-bo.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
“Co-written, co-produced and reputedly also supervised by Bong Joon-ho, Haemoo (it translates as Sea Mist) must be the most gripping sea story since The Perfect Storm. Like Memories of Murder – Bong’s first collaboration with Shim Sung-bo – it’s based on a real incident notorious in Korea, in this case something that happened off Korea’s southwest coast in 2001… Kang Chuljoo (Kim Yoon-seok, excellent) is the cash-strapped captain of the trawler Junjin, a rustbucket heading for the scrapyard. His money problems are compounded by even bigger problems with his marriage. In quiet desperation, he offers his services to a broker in smuggled goods – only to find that the contraband he’ll carry is human: 25 illegal immigrants from China, all of them ethnic Koreans, some of them probably refugees from North Korea. What could possibly go wrong? However much help he had from Bong, first-time director Shim gets muscular performances from the whole cast and stages the action with scary conviction. You can almost smell the salt water, the rust… and the Freon gas.” — Tony Rayns, Vancouver International Film Festival