Director: Shim Sung-Bo
Cast: Han Ye-Ri, Kim Yun-Seok, Park Yu-Chun, Moon Sung-Geun, Kim Sang-Ho
Subtitles: English, Chinese
Based on true events, Haemoo tells a gripping story of a voyage of survival and humanity.
Set in South Korea in 1998, a fishing vessel sets sail for their catch. The crew isn't in luck, for their catch isn't what they have hoped for. Captain Kang (starring Kim Yun-Seok) is desperate, for the times are bad and if they fail to bring in anything it'd mean the whole crew would be in trouble.
With nowhere to go, he agrees to transport some Chinese-Koreans stowaways from China on his vessel. When the crew knew that they would be smuggling immigrants, they are worried but they have no choice. Moreover they trust and respect Captain Kang; they knew that whatever he does he always have their best interest.
Unfortunately, the deal is a doom from the start. Apart from the large group of immigrants that leave them stunned, they are not prepared of consequences should any happens. Captain Kang has to resort to violence, and his action shakes the cores of his crew members. And that's only the beginning of the nightmares...
Haemoo is a sad, dark and thought-provoking movie that evolves around the subject of humanity, and what drives a man to do under desperate measures. Greed is another factor, as well as lust. There is a little romance to this movie, but it is all sad and a tragedy. Dong-Sik (starring Park Yu-Chun) is the youngest crew in the vessel who falls in love with Hong-Mae (starring Han Ye-Ri), a young woman immigrant who wanted to look for her brother in Korea. Their scene also plays a major part to this film when Dong-Sik tries to protect Hong-Mae from his crazed captain and fellow mates.
The cast did a wonderful job in their respective role. Two characters really left an impression on me and they are Captain Kang and of course, Dong-Sik. Captain Kang is a man who cares a lot for his crew (You could tell this when he still gives advance money to them even if he has to loan it.) He is simply a simple fisherman who wants to bring home money despite the bad times. He is simply down with miscalculations and bad luck.
Dong-Sik is another simple-minded soul with a big heart. His falling for Hong-Mae has given him the courage to act devilishly. From the point of love I have to applaud him for the things he has done for Hong-Mae, but from another view it's so sad to see the crew crumbles and became the enemies instead.
Overall I felt the direction was great, until it came to the ending part. It was a let down and I felt terribly disappointed. Walking out of the theatre I could hear some discussions and sighs from a few audiences. Truth be told, I didn't really get the ending. That said, I suppose it gives viewers a melancholy feel over what all happened to that unfortunate event.
Note: Haemoo is listed as South Korean's submission for the Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards in 2015.