Must watch for sci-fi lovers!
Climate change, state-sponsored controversial and secret research and space exploration have intrigued the human mind for a long time. From questions and activism to conspiracy theories and some inspired fiction, we have tried to make sense of our world. Science-fiction as a genre has flourished on intrigues and extreme imagination and has sometimes become prophetic.
When I watched The Silent Sea on Netflix, I wondered if some of this was true. What if years of space explorations have led to some discoveries that are privy to the high and mighty? With the sudden spurt in space-related activities, as we battle a pandemic, nothing seems improbable!
The Silent Sea, a 2021 South Korean sci-fi mystery thriller, is an adaptation of the 2014 short film, The Sea of Tranquility. IMBD trivia says this is the first sci-fi space drama to be attempted in Korea. This Korean drama or K-drama starts at a slow pace, which is the hallmark of most space-bound series. I believe it’s a deliberate attempt to chip away at the romantic imagery of space travel. Space is dark, uninviting, boring, and dangerous. The thrill is not because things move fast, but the disenchantment is that time stands still in closed confines. In this series, the eerie corridors of an artificially lit space station are abuzz with adrenaline-soaked action.
A brooding astrobiologist joins a team of cherry-picked professionals to go to the Moon and recover a mysterious sample from the abandoned Balhae lunar research station in a 24-hour secret mission. The Earth is already barren, and water is more precious than any commodity. In a dystopian future of rationing and misery, we start with the stark realities of climate change, hitting us with tawny and pale dust. In contrast, the grayish and detailed lunar surface is intimidating and inviting.
The 8-episodes series packs in a lot of punch and strikes nearly all the boxes. We get regular doses of adventure, excitement, mystery, conflict, confusion, secrets, thrill, fear, suspense, human dynamics and emotions, and the eternal question of ethics. The element that binds the series together is that of trust. The fabric of trust is often ripped apart as the story progresses – from trusting your government, your colleagues, family members to your instincts.
At some places, the scenes linger on, but there is always a twist that leaves you thinking. They do not show the crew sleeping or eating, and I found it an interesting detail. The cinematography is excellent. Production has gone into details, from lighting to gadgets, and it all ties up well together. The unique storyline is a big draw and a win because it stretches the imagination, yet it is not implausible. I would have loved to delve into so many aspects, but none can be without a spoiler. An interested viewer has to take undertake this journey to draw their conclusions.
On the lunar landscape, the crew discovers anomalies and surprising elements. The series-makers give an exciting revelation, even at the end. As with most series, the pertinent question to ask is will there be a season 2? A work of art is successful when it leaves you contemplative and not craving for more, though I can see scope for a prelude series. I opine some things are best left to the imagination for a lasting impact. The Silent Sea leaves you pondering and with a powerful impression, and that should remain untampered.