June 15, 2017

Tunnel: Buried But Not Forgotten

I might be a little claustrophobic. Such was the realization I had while watching Tunnel, a relatively effective disaster pic about a kind-hearted salesman (Ha Jung-woo) whose car is buried deep in the earth after a poorly constructed tunnel suddenly collapses while he's driving home for his daughter's birthday. With boulders and dirt all around him and little more than a tin can with windows as his shelter, our Everyman is really caught between a rock and a hard place. Do you conserve energy? Do you strategize an escape? How do you stay sane alone? Such is his dilemma. At least at first. Eventually, he discovers another person and her adorable lapdog are also buried, and can be accessed via a large pipe conveniently connecting the two vehicles. Then later, I guess as further rumblings cause the rocks to realign, he's suddenly got a cave-like living-room right beside his car so he can get out an stretch, let the dog out to pee, and collect water dripping of a random bit of wire.

Why writer-director Kim Seong-hun undermines the initial, heart-stopping entrapment probably has a lot to do with how difficult it would be to sustain drama with little more than a birthday cake, two bottles of water, and a cellphone with a battery doomed to run out. Those above ground have an even harder time maintaining the drama as the rescue team leader (Oh Dal-su) drills a hole in the wrong location (couldn't they have pinpointed the location of the cellphone?) and the well-meaning wife (Bae Doona) sniffles, sulks, and fries eggs. But here's the thing with B-movies about life-threatening disasters. They don't have to be perfect to be perfectly fun.

What a disaster movie needs to do is pick a catastrophe and run with it. Pandora did it with a nuclear power plant malfunction, The Tower with a skyscraper going up in flames, and Tidal Wave with... well you can guess this one on your own can't you? Generally speaking the title gives it away. Next up: Flu!

No comments:

Post a Comment