Park Kwang-hyun’s Fabricated City seems at first to play its premise straight: Kwon Yoo (Ji Chan-wool) uses a popular MMO game to escape from the growing problems he faces due to unemployment. After about 10 minutes, though, things change wildly: our protagonist is framed for murder and rape, gets convicted, and is sentenced to life in prison. Kwon is assaulted brutally by his cellmates, and Fabricated City becomes unrelentingly grim. It never strays from this dour tone — even when Kwon escapes and meets up with fellow gamers to clear his name. Cathartic moments of friendship are countered by over-the-top torture scenes, all empty shock value.
Published as part of New York Asian Film Festival 2017 | Dispatch 3.