This film uses a real life event as the basis for its story. That event being the death of illegal Chinese Korean immigrants on a fishing vessel. We first get introduced to the crew of a ship and the financial troubles some of them have that force them to take an illegal smuggling job. When the immigrants they are trying to smuggle die due to a malfunction of the old ship, the members of the crew react in different ways leading to violent conflict.
The film is mostly serious but there are bits of humor here and there, including someone actually saying “We’re all in the same boat, literally!” There’s even some romance with one of the female migrants and the youngest member of the crew. Unfortunately, the romance starts to feel like a Kdrama romance which clashes with the overall serious tone and situation. The moment and place they have sex is totally impractical and out of nowhere. This sort of mixture of tones is nothing new in Korean films but elements can sometimes feel out of place. Arguably the film consists of two different films stitched together, the first half being a serious drama about real social issues and the second half being a last man standing contest of violence and death.
Cinematography is well done as we see the vast sea in contrast with the cramped areas of the fishing vessel. When the fog comes, it’s like the ship becomes haunted as the crew members essentially lose their minds. Although the latter half of the film feels much less realistic, the acting helps to ground it for the most part (the exception being the sex deprived crew member who just cannot be taken seriously). Overall, this is a good film that is worth a watch but it’s not without its flaws.
Seen in the theatre at Fantasia 2015