Haemoo. 2014. South Korea. Directed by Shim Sung-bo. In Korean; English subtitles. 111 min.
First-time director Shim Sung-bo (screenwriter of Memories of Murder, the second film from Haemoo’s producer, Bong Joon-ho) distills a gripping drama from a real life incident and delivers a gritty, brooding spectacle of life and death on the high seas. With the country in the throes of an economic crisis, the captain of the run-down fishing boat Junjin sets out with his five-man crew to smuggle a group of Korean-Chinese illegal immigrants. During the hair-raising transfer of their human cargo from a freighter, rookie fisherman Dong-sik (Park Yu-chun) saves the life of Hong-mae (Han Ye-ri). Smitten and solicitous, he shelters the young woman in the engine room. But after a tense coast-guard inspection, things go horribly wrong and, as the titular sea fog rolls in, the captain forces his crew to set a new course—from which there’s no turning back. DCP.