Moebius, or Moebiuseu, is less a movie with a narrative story, and more a free-flowing exploration of ideas. During its running time the audience gets no dialogue, strange and disjointed edits, and some strangeness that is best encapsulated by the words “penis transplant”. It is obvious then that the film’s writer and director, Ki-duk Kim was less interested in telling us all a story than attempting to explore some especially strange sexual ideas that will result in confusion and a feeling of the general icky variety.
In a very general sense, Moebius is about a family of three, the father, the son, and the mother. The mother detaches an important part of her son’s anatomy, the father then donates his own piece of anatomy to his son, from there the mother has sexual relations with her son/husband’s appendage. And from there it just gets strange. While these details could be construed as spoilers, the truth is that Moebius is damn near spoiler proof. What happens on screen is about the sensory experience of what unfolds on screen.
What unfolds seems to be an exploration of what lust and sexuality does to all of us, and how closely linked it is to other, darker impulses. In Moebius, those darker impulses lean towards the violent shade. Violence melds with sexuality in a way that is disturbing and poignant. The takeaway seems to be that men and their sexuality is filled with pain. The penis is pain, women are pain, pain is orgasm, orgasm is torture, and on and on. The progression of the film goes so far down this road that the messages get mixed and flirt with sexism and some disturbing defense of violence towards women.
This flirtation with sexism seems like it may be the point of Kim’s vision of the film, however. By the final credits, it seems less an attack on women and more of an attack on all of us and our sexuality. While the simple exploration would be the world of sexual relationships between the sexes, Kim seems to take a step or two beyond that. Those steps lead us into a dark world where violence, not just violence against women, is analogous to sexual pleasure. This proposes that our lust and desire is a small step from terrible, animalistic impulses. Moebius has no interest in romance and lifelong bonds via marriage, it is interested in our own chemical motivations and how easily they could be warped into something far, far away from societal norms.
So while Moebius isn’t necessarily a fun watch, or a comforting one, it is an interesting view. The choice of no dialogue, along with the specific interest in violence, leads Moebius stand apart in its message and delivery. Much like its South-Korean peer “Oldboy”, Moebius has no problem skirting over the line of the taboo. In the end, though, the film and its general perversity make an interesting film that will, at the very least, lead to some interesting conversations.