Movies

Gong Yoo excels in dystopian K-Drama ‘The Silent Sea’

A still from ‘The Silent Sea’

A month has passed since the dystopian Korean series The Silent Sea premiered on Netflix, but the show is still making news thanks to its relevancy. We have been living in a water crisis for years; nothing has changed and things have only worsened. The Silent Sea manages to tell us that even if we were to find a solution to the crisis, we would still be doomed.

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The show begins in the not-so-distant future where the drinkable water on earth has dramatically decreased and the authorities have come up with a solution. A credit-card kind of system — divided into gold, silver or platinum — as per the purchasing power of people, has been devised; a crude comment on the current social play that inequality will persist and further widen, even in the face of an apocalyptic scenario. It reminds one of the recent ‘Inequality Kills’ report released by Oxfam.

In the face of imminent extinction, governments all around are scrambling to find an alternate source of water on moon. A team of scientists, engineers and military personnel are gathered by the Korean government to send them on the moon to retrieve a sample of water, called lunar water, in the facility where the earlier scientists had died mysteriously.

The show unfolds and we get to see that the lunar water has an amazing character; it multiplies endlessly as soon as it comes into contact with a living organism. So it is not conducive to sustain life because, as the title suggests, a droplet of lunar water can multiply and become a sea. Pretty soon, the team realises that the government was not only working on making the lunar water adapt to suit life, but they were experimenting on humans — specifically children — to adapt to the lunar water.

The show stands out due to the intriguing plot and brilliant performance by its lead characters. Bae Doona plays an astrobiologist Doctor Song Ji-an, who is determined to find the reason behind her sister’s death (the head researcher of the earlier group of scientists experimenting with the lunar water). Han Yoon-jae, played by Gong Yoo, is a soldier whose daughter is in the hospital due to lack of water intake, which has led to deformities in her body. He chooses the mission to moon to upgrade his water credit score. The Train to Busan and Squid Game star is a treat to watch with his intense looks and militaristic, yet humane body language, and manages to bring the calm and dutiful character to life.

There is something about Korean cinematography which is extremely soothing to the eyes; the shots feel full and complete unlike most of the English shows where the absurd lighting and innumerable jump cuts strains our viewing experience. The Silent Sea manages to evade that, as the screenplay flows from one scene to the other and maintains a fast, yet satisfactory pace.

The thriller is set in a ‘Tesla-esque’ future, where we face utter doom, but through technological advances, humans are saved... at least the rich ones. In lieu of the the environmental crisis we have been living in, if you are feeling helpless, watch The Silent Sea because at least it gets the fiction part right. After all, it is the age of the metaverse!


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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 12:25:46 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/gong-yoo-excels-in-dystopian-k-drama-the-silent-sea/article38333760.ece