originally written Jan 2011 for LondonKoreanLinks.net

Moss (이끼 – Ikki)
Director: Kang Woo-Suk
Writer: Ji Woo Chung

I am liking international travel, especially when the film choices on the flight I took from Vancouver to New York had ‘Moss’ in their Asian cinema collection. Starring Park Hae-il (Memories of Murder) it is a thriller mystery set in rural Korea in a community run by the charismatic Cheon Yong-Deok (Jeong Jae-Yeong). Park Hae-il takes on the role of Ryu Hae-Kuk, a lawyer who has fallen on a run of bad luck after ruining the career of a prosecutor. Told partially in flashback, the intricate web of deceit and machinations between the characters becomes a race against time as Ryu Hae-Kuk attempts to find out the truth behind his father’s death and achieve justice.

Based on an internet comic by Taeho Yoon that started in 2007, it was released in July 2010 and went on to win a slew of awards at film festivals round Asia:

Best Director – 2010 (47th) Daejong Film Awards – October 29
Best Cinematography – 2010 (47th) Daejong Film Awards – October 29
Best Art Design (Jo Sung-Won) – 2010 (47th) Daejong Film Awards – October 29
Best Sound Effects (Oh Se-Jin, Kim Suk-Jin) – 2010 (47th) Daejong Film Awards – October 29
Best Supporting Actor (Yu Hae-Jin) – 2010 (8th) Korean Film Awards – November 18
Best Director – 2010 (31th) Blue Dragon Film Awards – November 26
Best Actor (Jeong Jae-Yeong) – 2010 (31th) Blue Dragon Film Awards – November 26
Best Supporting Actor (Yu Hae-Jin) – 2010 (31th) Blue Dragon Film Awards – November 26
Source: AsianMediawiki

Yu Hae Jin rightfully wins awards for his role as the slightly simple village resident, perhaps purely for a single outburst that is done so very masterfully. He has appeared in all three of the Public Enemy films directed by Kang Woo Suk, and there are other familiar faces – a cast assembled for their past proved worth perhaps! Kang Woo Suk invites familiar themes into this film also: power, justice, righteousness. It was interesting for me too to see the difference in how religion is portrayed and used in his cinematic language compared to Park Chan Wook in Thirst.

I would definitely recommend watching this if you missed it at the London Korean Film Festival 2010 as it’s now available on Yesasia. The run time of 158 minutes is quite long in theory, but passes well in practice – the suspense makes it all fly by.