Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Weight (Mooge) (2012) Fantasia Film Festival 2013

Tough guys may not dance but the dead do
Opening with a short sequence set in bright and happy New York The Weight quickly upsets the apple cart by telling us that is not where the film is set. Things then switch gears to a drab morgue somewhere in Korea where a hunchback attendant cleans and prepares the bodies that are brought in. As the opening minutes pass a young boy sings at the foot of a coffin, a more bodies are brought in, a hulking man in black leather and full face motorcycle helmet comes in, mourns his mother in a coffin on a table before having sex with a dead woman on the next table… there are flashbacks filling in the back story of the living and the dead and then it gets weirder…

Overly strange film is by turns off putting, disturbing, engaging, distancing and finally disappointing. This is a film about looking for love, one’s true self and transformation (butterflies are a motif and one of the characters is a transsexual) that never seems to know what it is other than really bizarre. I was along for the ride for a bit, became disinterested, was drawn back in only to lose interest again when it seemed to me that the film was more interested in just pushing buttons rather than telling an engaging story. The film feels too artificial and constructed as it keeps trying to one up the weird quotient even as it is trying to tell a kind of touching story of life down among the fallen.

As you can tell the one thing I’ve taken away from the film is that it’s weird. On the weird scale the film is near the top peg, but at the same time that’s all it is. Where are the characters? Where is the heart? I don’t know. I’m of the opinion that director Jeon Kyu-hwan didn’t trust his story and continued to add in weird things in an effort to make the film memorable. Its memorable alright but it’s not really a film I need to see again because there is nothing in it I care about.

Kudos to Fantasia for unearthing a strange film, I just wish it it had more to recommend it beyond it being strange.

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