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Audience holds breath as watching the movie ‘Decibel’

Audience holds breath as watching the movie ‘Decibel’

Posted November. 09, 2022 08:10,   

Updated November. 09, 2022 08:10


Naval submarine “Halla,” returning home after participating in a multinational naval training session, is hit by an unidentified torpedo and becomes lost. It was thought that no one would come back alive, but Deputy Commander Lieutenant Colonel Kang Do-young (played by actor Kim Rae-won) leads half of the crew to life. Do-young becomes a national hero overnight, but he seems unstable.

Do-young receives an unknown call saying that the bombs had been set up at the residence and playground of the surviving soldiers. The unknown voice tells him that bombs have been placed at a soccer stadium and water parks. The bombs are not only time bombs, but they are also designed to respond to noise, so when the noise gets louder, the remaining time until the explosion reduces by half. Shouts from the audience, whistles in the water park, and other noises become catalysts for the bomb. Everyday noise has become a lethal weapon. Do-young, the only person who knows of the bombs, fights to protect people.

The movie ‘Decibel’ is intriguing because it introduces a bomb that responds to noise. When the noise grows louder, and the remaining time of the bomb shrinks, it makes the audience hold their breath. Sounds and explosions of the movie, which claim to be sound terror action, trigger tension and immersion. Kim perfectly captures the anxiety and cool-headedness of Tae-seong, a character that might have been expressed as overly resolute. The interior of the submarine gives a real-like feel, and the realistic depiction of underwater situations, such as the torpedo launch and the high-speed maneuvering of the submarine, also throws the audience into the scene.

Above all, director Hwang In-ho’s directing of muting everyday noise and explosion, maximizing tension to keep the audience on their toes and tense with anticipation, is magnificent. There are much devoted efforts to keep the story moving for 110 minutes without any lagging or boring.

Some of the settings in the movie leave room for dispute, such as conspiracy theories over the Cheonan ship accident, which is rather disappointing. The excessive use of slow motions toward the movie’s end is somewhat distracting. Despite these flaws, the directing, a fresh theme, and strong acting performance are excellent factors that make the movie a must-see. To be released in theaters on Nov. 16.

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com