Part grotesque comedy, part soft-core-fetish curiosity, “Moebius” is, you hope, not seriously intended as much else.
South Korean director Kim Ki-duk throws down the gauntlet with his opening setup, in which a maddened mother slices off her son’s penis in revenge for her husband’s infidelity. (That’s after trying her spouse first.) Love does not quite conquer all afterward.
Raggedly shot with a handheld camera, this violent film presents Kim at his weakest, indulging in crass characterization and brute-force profundity. The characters remain nameless, and after Mother (Lee Eun-woo) conveniently disappears for the moment, Father (Cho Jae-hyun) makes amends by searching the Internet for solutions to his son’s (Seo Young-ju) plight.
Kim somehow maintains a deadpan amusement at the follies of carnal desire. He shows off a Lars von Trier-esque talent for ratcheting his puppets and their boldfaced psychosexual issues into motion, but with convenient gaps in emotional intelligence.
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This isn’t quite the “sexual terrorism” that Kim, the director of “3-Iron” and “Pieta,” was accused of during his more popular days a decade ago. But the omission of spoken dialogue ultimately feels less like purist visual storytelling and more like a sadistic hobbling of his characters.