Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DOOMSDAY BOOK (2012) review


Doomsday Book (2012) d. Kim, Jee-woon / Yim, Pil-sung (South Korea)

Most anthology films announce themselves through a wraparound story of some sort, however flimsy or contrived, and are the work of how many ever directors there are stories. But this South Korean horror-sci-fi effort colors outside the established lines, with no connective narrative tissue and two of its three segments directed by a single individual (Pil-sung Yim) with Jee-woon Kim holding down the center slot. These minor breaks with convention are in service of three tales about the way the world ends, and the means by which humanity seems bent on handling the job itself. Yim’s bookending pieces are steeped in exaggerated black comedy, opening with a zombie epidemic brought about through poisoned beef and closing with a giant asteroid hurtling toward Earth – the latter the product of an online purchase gone horribly wrong. More serious in tone is Kim’s tale, depicting a humanoid robot stationed in a Buddhist temple that appears to be the incarnation of Buddha himself, and the fear this notion installs in its human creators. The switches in tone are a little unsettling, but all provide ample food for thought, holding their respective mirrors up to a world set on its extinction.

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