Saibogujiman kwenchana (I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK) (2006)
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|Movie Review by Jesse |
March 8th, 2008
Not a typical Chan-wook Park, but still Brilliant!
I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)
director: Chan-wook Park
starring: Su-jeong Lim, Rain, Hie-jin Choi, Yong-nyeo Lee, Dal-su Oh
LOVE this film. It's probably one of the craziest films I have ever seen and one of the most original in terms of story and style. Director Chan-wook Park (one of my favourites) has already established himself as a filmmaker and has reached fame outside of Korea with his previous Vengeance Trilogy (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance). His style is still somewhat evident and the themes displayed in his previous works are also there in part. But as a whole, this is a complete change for Park as he is not working in his known genre. The funny thing is, I didn't even question myself as I was watching this. I was so captivated by the film and the visuals that my worries of Park completely bombing weren't even an issue anymore. I might have been expecting a few hammers to the head and blood, blood, blood... but not seeing it like in Oldboy wasn't as big of a deal as I thought it would be. Park tackled this project and made it his own as if he's been making these types of films forever. He's magical, I tell you.
The premise of this film is strange (as if you didn't laugh a little when you read the title), but don't let that turn you away from this fantastic Park film. A young girl, Young-goon (played by Su-jeong Lim), is sent to a mental hospital where she meets many different psychotic people, one of them being Il-sun. Il-sun believes that he can steal people's souls and hops around the hospital like a rabbit all day. Oh, and did I mention that Young-goon believes she is a cyborg? Growing up with her grandmother, Young-goon watched her live her life believing she was a mouse. Eating only pickled radishes, her grandmother was eventually taken away and sent to a hospital. Young-goon keeps her grandmother's dentures and wears them so she can be closer to her. Dreaming of her often, she explains to Young-goon her purpose in life. The problem is, "your purpose in life is..." is as far as she gets. In every dream, her grandmother vanishes before she can finish her sentence. On her adventures, she encounters many different people and many problems occur, but with the help of Il-sun, who she eventually falls for, she accomplishes many things.
This film is just way too fun and had me smiling throughout the whole thing. Both Su-jeong Lim and Rain are a treat to watch and together they are absolutely mesmerizing. The scene in the forest where Young-goon spins her head around and her feet sprout rockets so she can boost up to kiss Il-sun is one of my favourite parts in this film. So many scenes in this film are hilarious, sad and romantic that it gives a sympathetic tenderness to both the lead characters. Watching Young-goon go from depressed to ecstatic was so exciting, especially in the scene where Il-sun gives her one patient's "flying socks" and sings to her that yodeling song as she dreams of gliding through the clouds. Absolutely magical.
If you're a fan of Chan-wook Park, I believe that you will still find it in yourself to love this film because you will notice similarities between this and his previous work. Even when the opening credits were rolling through the gears of the factory, I could tell this was going to be a great Park film. This film is incomparable to Oldboy, yet on some level, more fascinating. I love Oldboy and it will remain my favourite Chan-wook Park film for now, but this is Park's most creative masterpiece yet. I have only praises to say about this film, so I recommend this highly. If you're a fan of Asian cinema, enjoy. If you're a fan of Chan-wook Park (which I would assume makes you a fan of Asian cinema, also), enjoy. Even if you're just a fan of crazy and visually jaw-dropping films, watch this. It's a heartwarming, silly, romantic and ultimately brilliant achievement from one of the best Asian directors of today.
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