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“Hide and Seek” is another film about who is whose brother and what their strength is

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There is no chance for catharsis. © Freeze frame from the movie “Hide and Seek”

All the loud film premieres of April went somewhere (and why would that be?) Ironically, one of the films that hit the Russian screens is called “Hide and Seek”. The director is Joel David Moore, who is an actor by profession and best known as a botanist from Avatar. Starring Jonathan Reese-Myers. Thanks to his well-honed expressive profile, he has already been to the movies by the English king, the French, and even Count Dracula.

Here his hero – businessman Noah – is also quite on the throne: a luxury apartment in Manhattan, a thriving business inherited from his father, a prosperous family. Only one dark spot, only one scratch itches: Noah once had a brother who rolled down the slope and disappeared to nowhere. But he can claim part of his father’s inheritance…

From his prosperous world, Noah goes to a dilapidated house, captured by squatters, where he seems to have found a relative. Around, of course, complete horrors: some beggars, no receptionist in the elevator and Michelin-starred restaurants clearly do not smell. In addition, terrible murders are taking place in the house. Involuntarily involved in sinister hiding places with his invisible brother, Noah feels that his mind is also trying to hide somewhere…

Moore’s film is a remake of the 2013 Korean film of the same name. Those “Hide and Seek” suddenly broke the box office in the homeland, a gift that was rented for little money and could not boast of a star cast or a famous director. But it was one of the first swallows of the Korean social thriller boom, which is now crowned with the fame of “Parasites” and “Squid Games”.

In all these films and series, starting with the old “Oldboy”, there is a simple but effective formula: under the guise of genre cinema hides sharp public criticism – capitalism in general, class stratification, stuck social elevators, snobbery of the rich and so on. Beats on the spot. Koreans do not hesitate to speak about it sincerely, without any hesitation or mitigation. If the humor is sarcastic, if the scenes of violence are extremely harsh, because that’s how – bloody and scary – there is an explosion of accumulated contradictions.

And it’s amazing how differently the American remake of “Hide and Seek” is perceived. Despite the fact that the creators seem to have painstakingly transferred the plot, the heroes, even copied from the original the mysterious sign “triangle-circle-square”, which later became famous in “Squid Game”. it’s a pity.

And it’s not even about the personal incompetence of the director, although it would be better for him to continue to play botanists. And there are no complaints at all about Rhys-Myers: his bony face perfectly conveys different shades of bewilderment, horror and various other interesting emotions; he notices ominous signs, like a crow or a cat running past; he misses his wife; he feels a condescending superiority near declassed elements… In general, a good actor.

The problem seems to be a biased point of view. For Korean cinema, the main trick is to put the viewer in a difficult position: to offer him to identify with the source of cruelty. In “Parasites” the main characters were unpleasant manipulators, rubbed in the trust of the rich; in “Oldboy” – in general, a man who beats others with a hammer; and in the Squid Game, everyone voluntarily joined the sadistic race for survival. It is quite difficult, but if you do not try on such a role, it is difficult to reflect on it – and understand that the real source of violence are invisible, invisible things and respectable, nice, well-groomed people.

Moore’s Hide and Seek also seems to have social motives: there is an obvious, pronounced contrast between the pure hero Noah in a camel’s fur coat – and the dirty, ragged, angry inhabitants of the half-dead house. The creators play on the feelings of the viewer when the hero of Rhys Myers dreams that a beast-like homeless man is feasting at his refrigerator, invading his prosperous reality.

Of course, this affects anyone who buys a ticket. There is only one difference: for the director Moore it is disgusting – and there is a finale to the reasoning, no further thought. The figure of the Other, whether a lost brother or a poor slum, remains a tool that regularly produces fear, suspicion, aggression – that is, just an object. There is no chance for a living, however cruel, encounter with your demons – and for catharsis.

It’s even amazing how sincerely and naively the desire to objectify, to identify with your favorite sofa, to merge with your coat, to merge with expensive watches is expressed in this movie – and to protect it not from others, but even from your own brother, from your own shadow. You are not my brother, as we now like to repeat.

Fedor Dubshan

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