December 9, 2016

E.D. 571 (a.k.a. Modern Family): The Egg Plays Chicken

Out in the real world, Screen Actors Guild award-winner and multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Sofia Vergara (star of the ABC sitcom Modern Family) is being sued by her filthy rich ex-fiancee Nick Loeb (star of nothing) on "behalf" of her two frozen embryos. Which makes the not-too-distant-future plot of "E.D. 571" (part of the 2012 omnibus Modern Family) feel more-than-quaintly antiquated. What's so "out there" about a 12-year-old girl (Woo Ji) — whose divorced parents have just disowned her — blackmailing the egg donor (Seon Woo-seon), that she's holding responsible for her very existence, compared to a petty, jilted man, with a lot of money to burn, fighting for the right to impregnate a woman's eggs, a woman he's not even seeing anymore. No, some sci-fi movies need to catch up to reality. Although, today it feels almost impossible to do so. The worst case scenario is repeatedly being hatched way before you've even conceived it.

Maybe Lee Soo-youn's "E.D. 571" is slightly science fiction. Then again, maybe not. Maybe it's plain old realism. Maybe there already are hacker tweens out there bribing selfish corporate execs who have serious ethical deficiencies. I can easily picture a thriving subculture of underage renegades who squat in abandoned tenements and siphon off electricity to run their laptops and tablets, from which they break into poorly protected cyber accounts so as to earn money to pay for their food, their clothes, their entertainment, and, if they're really good at cracking codes, their jewelry, their drugs, their better housing, their cars, and their trips abroad. How can this not be happening? But as "E.D. 571" — a very clever cat-and-mouse game — points out, the elders have a slight advantage for the moment in that they're well-versed in the arts of drugging, outwitting, entrapping, double-talking, cajoling, and other nefarious tactics. If the young are going to win (and God knows I hope they do), they must accept no food, no drink, no hugs, no gifts... nothing except a virtual deposit to their online account that can't be traced to anywhere except its front in Switzerland.