These folks assume they’re secure. They’re inside, the place air is shared and mingles. Miniscule airborne particles journey the vents, spreading by the ducts in a gaseous hush earlier than reaching an enclosed area the place teams of individuals unknowingly breathe them in. The illness touring in unseen droplets would not reveal itself till it is too late, at which level all that folks can do is hope for the most effective however watch for the worst.
Watching this easy sequence of occasions turns into much more eerily terrifying because of the Coronavirus pandemic and its years of mask-wearing, breath-holding, hand-sanitizing nervousness; when it is depicted in The Silent Sea, the viewers response is palpably grim. There are a number of related factors of reference, however that is the factor concerning the new Netflix show– folks have seen this story and these occasions play out earlier than, and but they tackle a brand new, bleak that means in 2022.
Freak Out in a Moonage Daydream
The South Korean science-fiction drama faucets into a wide range of existential anxieties which have been consuming tradition as of late. The Silent Sea would not reinvent the wheel (or the moonbase), however it builds on so many prevalent parts of up to date fears that it spins the wheel and sends it racing off a jagged edge. Distrust of the federal government, climate-related disaster, company malfeasance, social inequality, invisible illness, and panicked conspiracies– all this nightmare gasoline has powered humanity’s engines of collective nervousness for a couple of years now and drives this Korean drama by a related journey of white-knuckled stress.
As talked about, the eight-episode first season of The Silent Sea piggybacks on many traditional sci-fi tropes however does so in a contemporary and exhilarating approach. There may be the assemblage of an elite group being despatched to area throughout a disastrous time for the planet; the group (of predictably archetypal characters) is tasked by the federal government to recuperate one thing valuable left over at an unresponsive area base, however lies and secrecy shroud their mission. After all, the mission is emotionally private for the protagonists with essentially the most quantity of display screen time, and clearly, every thing begins to go flawed, with the astronaut crew encountering some factor(s) that kill them off one after the other.
But, this new collection has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating from critics for good causes, having turn into one thing greater than the sum of its easy, referential elements. It opens with a right away sense of hazard and chaos, the spaceship having crash-landed a short time away from the Balhae Lunar Analysis Station it was supposed to succeed in. The characters greet the viewers in a state of confused shock and pained nervousness, an ideal introduction for a collection that subsequently follows them by ever-increasing nervousness over a really quick time period.
Although the modern motion is strictly lunar, the present flashes again to earlier than the mission in each episode, slowly teasing out character motivations and narrative mysteries. The state of affairs in The Silent Sea is darkly portentous, detailing an overheated world the place assets (particularly water) are operating out and residents depend on sociopolitical and financial standing to outlive within the style of credit score card-like transactions. The elitist higher-ups carry coveted gold playing cards, making certain that the faucet is at all times on for them, however most aren’t so fortunate with the movement of their water provide.
Track Sung Silently
Astrobiologist Physician Track Ji-an is one such VIP, although not for a similar causes as authorities officers and the enterprise elite. Physician Track’s sister died within the ‘accident’ on the Balhae moonbase, and the federal government has expressed their condolences with a shiny gold card. Track believes that there’s extra to the story than a easy ‘radiation leak,’ because of some encrypted and secretive paperwork of her sister’s. It is clear that there are deeply private and maybe political causes (as if the 2 can ever be separated) for the astrobiologist to take the treacherous journey, however Track performs her playing cards very near the chest. She would not let her fellow area vacationers perceive a lot about her, and she or he does the identical with the viewers.
Track is an interesting character, starting the present already in a despair and carrying a quiet however hulking burden together with her wherever she goes. Doona Bae performs the half completely, proving why she’s the most effective South Korean actors working at present. She’s been beloved by Bong Joon-ho, who helped her craft fantastic performances in Barking Canine By no means Chew and The Host, and has been a favourite of the Wachowski sisters, who’ve tapped into her explicit model of cool (first expressed as a hip anarchist in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) with their tasks Sense8, Jupiter Ascending, and Cloud Atlas (the place she performs 5 elements excellently). She brings her deadpan cool to The Silent Sea as properly however infuses it with a deeper melancholy and grief than regular, and the result’s charming.
One other glorious efficiency comes from Yoo Gong, who grew to become a reliably gifted presence in 2000s-era South Korean tv earlier than breaking by internationally with gripping, completely dedicated performances in Practice to Busan and Squid Sport. He is one among many South Korean actors presently garnering plenty of consideration in North America, indicative of a brand new pattern that sees Western tradition embracing Korean drama. Whereas the non-English movies of Park Chan-wook and the aforementioned Bong Joon-ho have actually acquired vital reward within the west over the previous twenty years, this creating pattern hadn’t absolutely taken off till pretty just lately.
Simply West of South Korea
Credit score it, maybe, with Parasite successful not simply the Academy Awards for Greatest Worldwide Characteristic and Greatest Director in 2020, but additionally for Greatest Image, turning into the primary non-English language movie to take action within the 92-year historical past of the awards on the time. This prompted Hollywood producer Janet Yang to inform TIME journal, “This can be a big breaking of a psychological barrier. This wall we’ve constructed, wherein non-English language films have been restricted not simply in launch or field workplace however in folks’s minds, is being cracked.” Since then, Youn Yuh-jung grew to become the primary Korean actor to win an Academy Award, for the Greatest Image-nominated Minari. Her acceptance speech went viral and was merely joy-inducing.
Then, after all, there’s Squid Sport, maybe the most-talked-about tv collection of the previous two years, although it is actually not the one one to be garnering a ton of American viewership and acclaim. From Kingdom to the eagerly awaited All of Us are Useless, Korean zombie tv is turning into extraordinarily in style; Korean romantic TV is blossoming, with Single’s Inferno turning into the primary South Korean present to hit Netflix’s prime ten most-watched collection, globally. Hellbound, Candy Dwelling, My Title, and the upcoming Cash Heist are all being talked about. With Netflix offering dubbed variations of those reveals in a wide range of languages, and the identical linguistic variation with subtitles, it appears as if the barrier between ‘worldwide’ and ‘nationwide’ is turning into blurred. With these demarcating traces vanishing, an interesting cultural dialogue is going down between American and Korean media.
The Silent Sea quietly entered the dialog, maybe overshadowed by greater, adjoining releases like the favored fantasy adaptation The Witcher or breezy romance Emily in Paris, however standing out with its good Rotten Tomatoes rating and glowing opinions. The preliminary episode is undoubtedly the worst of the eight, which is a disgrace; it isn’t precisely dangerous, however it would not put together the viewers for simply how good the collection will get. The CGI and visible results truly appear to enhance, going from the look of a mid-2000s online game within the first and second episodes to truly practical and sometimes stunningly superior photos. Midway by the third episode, in what ought to turn into infamously referred to as the ‘water-vomit’ scene, audiences could understand that they have been hooked, caught up on this new factor about previous issues, contaminated with its contagious drama.
Room to Breathe (However Do not)
Creator and director Choi Dangle-Yong makes a daring selection to show his 2014 quick movie The Sea of Tranquility (referring to the lunar ‘Mare Tranquillitatis,’ the very first off-planet location humanity has ever landed on) right into a full tv collection. Going from 37 minutes to roughly seven hours is an enormous leap, and is usually unwarranted when the present is starting, with extra footage of strolling by hallways than an Aaron Sorkin drama. Nonetheless, it seems to be a clever selection over time, giving room for the characters to return into themselves and for the strain to ratchet up. What begins as a glacially paced thriller turns into an all-out thriller midway by, and hardly lets up in anyway. Viewers could discover themselves unwittingly holding their breaths, the way in which the characters generally on account of keep away from an infection.
Effectively-acted, typically fantastically shot, with excellently tense music and disturbingly related themes, The Silent Sea is value watching previous its first episode so as to glimpse sci-fi attaining a few of its full potential. As an alternative of being worn down by its well-trodden tropes and acquainted plot mechanics, the collection makes use of this stuff to make one thing pressing, dramatic, and well timed, slowly perfecting the usual tales within the course of. This can be a nice collection for an interesting cultural second, one wherein folks each keep inside their houses and away from the silent assaults of illness, but additionally in some way interact in a productive cultural dialogue with nations and folks internationally. The Silent Sea continues the dialogue and deserves to be heard.
The 2000s was a golden period for South Korean cinema. Listed here are the most effective films of that decade.
About The Creator