In the small village Goksung in South Korea, police officer Jong-Goo investigates bizarre murders caused by a mysterious disease. His partner relays gossip that a Japanese stranger, who lives in a secluded house in the mountains, would be an evil spirit responsible for the illness. Jong-Goo decides to visit the stranger along with his partner and a young priest who speaks Japanese. They find an altar with a goat head, pictures on the walls of the infected people that died, and an attacking guard dog that prevents their departure until the stranger arrives. Jong-Goo finds one shoe of his beloved daughter, Hyo-jin, in the house of the stranger, and soon she becomes sick. His mother-in-law summons the shaman Il-gwang to save her granddaughter while a mysterious woman tells Jong-Goo that the stranger is responsible. Who might be the demon that is bringing sickness to Goksung?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A movie that almost makes sense, but not quite, and this may be the whole point
Some movies have a coherent plot that is told in a non-straightforward fashion, or that is open to several interpretations, or that leaves out some parts requiring the audience to fill-in (e.g. an open end), and possibly this filling-in can be done in more than one way. These movies require several viewings and considerable thought to make sense.
After watching The Wailing for the first time, I had the impression that it was this kind of movie. However, after watching it again, pondering it, and then reading and watching attempts by various people to interpret/explain it, I have come to a different conclusion. Namely, this movie does not have a coherent underlying plot. No matter how you shift the pieces of the puzzle in an attempt to recreate a coherent narrative, some pieces will never fit together, and not due to your incompetence, but because the underlying story is - possibly intentionally, possibly not - fundamentally inconsistent. It's like one of those optical illusions or Escher drawings that appear to describe a physical object, but in fact don't make physical sense.
Accordingly, whether one enjoys this movie or not boils down to whether one can be content with a movie that is technically well-made (cinematography, acting, costumes, etc.), but (a) its plot makes no sense, and (b) it is told in a deceptive way as to lure you into thinking that the plot would make sense if only you gave the matter sufficient thought, thus leaving you with a lingering, irritating feeling of dissatisfaction and confusion.
And maybe this is precisely the point of the movie: rather than telling a story, its purpose is to instill in the audience a feeling of confusion in the face of a sequence of events that almost, but not quite, makes sense. Much like life at times, no?
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