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Monday, January 15, 2024

PSIFF 2024 Review: Cobweb

 By Jonathan Bilski
The 2024 Palm Springs International Film Festival was going for another week and I was able to get stuck in Cobweb directed by Jee-woon Kim. Some problems with the name as an American horror film with the same name came out last year, just when this South Korean satire did.

I wanted to love this quirky Korean satire/drama about actor Song Kang-ho playing a director who just needs two more days to finish his masterpiece. Set in 1970's South Korea in a small studio with a wonderful cast playing actors with the same intrigue you would get from a soap opera, it's just a bit sad it pulled it's punches on comedy and style.

The story has you wondering if this notorious trashy director will get his movie made when cultural censors, the studio chief & diva actors are all against him. Even more problems arise all through a short window left to finish his film.
The problem lies with the over-the-top-moments not going far enough in either how silly or strange they are and the film dragging it's feet to get there.

It was made a big deal that the studio gets locked up, so no one can get in and out for the mad director's final shooting schedule. But, it's circumvented rather fast and not played for all the laughs it could have been. Almost every problem gets solved, but isn't allowed breathing room to be made fun of or taken one step more to grab you.
No one seems to care about sleeping? That two days stuck there might have or might not have happened, not sure with how the film condensed time. No transition to day number 2 was noticeable. And, making such a deal out of it earlier seemed to be forgotten.

Not forgotten is a great segment of how a long take would be done with the technology of the time. Seeing everyone get into position and move around so a camera can keep filming uninterrupted with a real fire burning down the set was an amazing scene. It's only done once as the showstopper and other parts of the film look under-cooked because of it.

Shortened and played for even more antics Cobweb could have been a recommended film.

The ridiculous movie within a movie shown at the end is a nice reward for sitting through it all and everyone wondering how the long shot turns out. If you know your cinema of the time it is a great mix of genre's as a fun thriller-muder-horror-movie mess. There's a reason it's called Cobweb. I'll leave it at that.

Slight Update on anothjer film we saw at the fest