The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

The Silent Sea is a Netflix Original that comes on the heels of the streaming service’s acquisition of rights to the Korean film Okja, which came out last year. It is directed by Choi Hang-Yong and stars Bae Doona, Gong Yoo, Joon Lee, and Heo Sung-tae.

The Silent Sea Review does not contain any spoilers

The Silent Sea is a Sci-fi Mystery – Lyrical and Abrupt

The show is about an alternate reality where Earth is dying due to drought and overpopulation. The government has placed controls on who can have water and how much. For humanity to survive, the National Committee for Human Survival Measures has sent a team to set up a base on the Moon to find an alternative water source.

The Silent Sea is a rare example of Netflix releasing a sci-fi show that isn’t a high-concept American import. The service has only been dabbling in the format for a couple of years, but with shows like “Altered Carbon,” “3%,” and “Dark”,— it seems to be carving out a niche for itself within the genre.

The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

One could argue that the series feels like a feature film stretched to a ridiculous length: Each episode runs up to an hour and focuses on one character or storyline.

The Silent Sea is not without its pleasures. Director Choi Hang-Yong stages the action with a fluidity that suggests a firm grasp of cinematic language, and he brings energetic pacing to the action. And while the first episode ends on an abrupt note that feels like a pause button was hit mid-scene, it also gives you an idea of what to expect from future instalments.

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Silent Sea is Set in a Dystopian Future

The first episode of the Netflix sci-fi series The Silent Sea is brisk, business-like. It sets up the premise and characters, then dives headlong into its central mystery.

The Silent Sea is a South Korean sci-fi miniseries and, for those hoping for a new Game of Thrones or Battlestar Galactica alternative, it’s not the show for you. This is a claustrophobic space drama that plays out in an often muted palette and is more concerned with character than action.

The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

The series’ first few episodes are a slow burn. The writing and directing lean heavily on exposition. Characters talk about their motivations and pasts as if they are important details to share with the audience. (They aren’t.) The world-building, too, is heavy-handed—as if everyone involved in the production felt the need to constantly remind us what this world looks like and how it works.

As the story progresses, though, a more robust narrative emerges—one that takes its time to explore how these characters feel about where they live and what they want from life. It explores how they find fulfilment despite the odds against them and their society’s oppressive rules. There are still some hiccups along the way—but there’s enough here to suggest that The Silent Sea might be worth sticking with through its 8-episode run.

The Silent Sea is an Ambitious Thriller that Makes For a Fascinating Watch

The first episode does a great job at establishing some of the rules and stakes in this dystopia. There are brief moments where characters break the fourth wall and talk directly to viewers. This is used to give us some exposition on what is happening in this world and why the story is unfolding.

The show’s steady-state world-building sets off an intriguing premise. On Earth, water is rationed out according to social status, and a single drop costs more than a car. The Moon is home to a lunar station that’s been abandoned after something “unexpected happened there.” The series opens with an impressively staged launch countdown that ends with a lunar liftoff — but while the ship is in space, it loses its engine and crash-lands on the lunar surface.

The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

The Silent Sea is a serial science-fiction saga, establishing mood and conflict, as well as laying out some basic ideas about how things work in the lunar space station.

The series has its high points and low points. The thing that stands out the most is how realistic the plot is. It didn’t try to be something it wasn’t, which made me care about these characters and their mission a lot more than I thought I would.

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Dark Secrets Lurking Within the plot of The Silent Sea

I was impressed by how they showed a different culture through this story. This is probably one of the first Korean dramas I’ve seen in years that uses English. Some archaic words were thrown in there to show how diverse this society was in terms of nationality and language.

The plot starts pretty slowly, but you grow attached to these characters right away. It doesn’t take long before you feel like you know them and want to go along with them on their journey to the Moon.

The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

The Moon was supposed to be the next step in human space exploration. It was supposed to be the stepping stone to colonizing Mars and beyond. But, as depicted in this new Netflix Original show, The Silent Sea, there’s a twist.

The Silent Sea is a sci-fi adventure with a powerful message. It takes place in a future Korea where global warming has rendered the planet uninhabitable. The human race has turned to the Moon for salvation, and the first manned trip to the Moon’s surface has resulted in a mass casualty event.

Stream it or Skip It?

The Silent Sea (2021) Review: Gong Yoo Series is Lyrical and Abrupt

The Silent Sea is an ambitious yet uneven science fiction thriller with a fascinating viewing experience. The series gets off to an intense start with its exciting first episode, but after that, it settles into something more traditional and becomes less attractive at a point.

The Silent Sea is streaming on Netflix.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

The Silent Sea is not without its pleasures. Director Choi Hang-Yong stages the action with a fluidity that suggests a firm grasp of cinematic language, and he brings energetic pacing to the action.

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