Masters

The Net

Ki-duk Kim

In the new film from provocative Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk (Pieta), a poor North Korean fisherman finds himself an accidental defector, and is groomed to be a spy by an ambitious South Korean military officer.

A highly original rumination on the question of what it means to be a Korean national today, and on the suffering caused by the political division of the peninsula, The Net is the thought-provoking latest film by the bad boy of Korean cinema, Kim Ki-duk.

Nam Chul-woo (Ryoo Seung-bum) is a poor fisherman living a simple but happy life with his wife and daughter on the north side of a river that divides the two Koreas. Every day he goes fishing on the river, where the checkpoint soldiers know him well and trust him not to cross the invisible border in the water. But one day his fishing net gets caught in the boat's engine, and Nam cannot stop himself from drifting into the South.

Upon reaching shore, he is immediately seized by South Korean border police and thrust into a brutal investigation, whose ambitious interrogating officer (Kim Young-min) begins grooming him to be a defector and a spy. As Nam's ordeal intensifies, it becomes apparent that, even should he manage to return home, his life in the North will never be the same.

Ryoo Seung-bum gives an extraordinary performance. His charismatic portrayal of Nam gives human weight to a film that is ultimately about the invisible prisons that ideology creates around people. Kim Ki-duk shocks his audience once again with The Net — not with the extreme sex or violence for which his films are known, but rather with the frankness he brings to his eye-opening tale of a fisherman from the North.

GIOVANNA FULVI

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location_on Winter Garden Theatre

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