Accomplished and original, Castaway on the Moon is a fascinating love story by one of South Korea’s most promising young filmmakers. Lee Hey-jun made his debut in 2006 as co-director of the hit comedy Like a Virgin, and he now reconfirms his witty talent and strong directorial skill.
Kim Seong-geun (Jung Jae-young) has never learned to swim. When his girlfriend leaves him and debts feel insurmountable, jumping into the Han river seems the most logical way to commit suicide. But destiny has a very different plan. Coughing and spitting up polluted river water, he awakens washed ashore on what looks like a tropical beach but turns out just to be the small island of Bam at the centre of the river. Abandoning all suicidal intentions, Kim tries to attract the attention of passing tourist boats, but soon realizes that nobody will come to his aid. Slowly adjusting to life in the wilderness, with civilization so close yet so unreachable, he discovers the pleasures and agonies of nature.
In one of the many high-rises facing the beach lives Kim Jeong-yeon (Jung Rye-won), a young woman who hasn’t left her room in three years. Locked in the secluded island of her bedroom, she only makes contact with the external world via the Internet and her camera lens. From here, she can see the sign that our castaway has written on the sand – a gigantic “hello.” Intrigued by his curious greeting, she starts spying on the unusual man. Soon overcome by a pressing urge to communicate, she sends him a message in a bottle, in true castaway tradition.
Addressing sensitive contemporary issues such as the economic recession and urban alienation, Lee ventures into new narrative territory that feels identifiable but is difficult to categorize. Bordering on various genres, the film lands in the strange cinematic terrain of romantic/social sci-fi.
Pleasingly offbeat, Castaway on the Moon has a stimulating appeal and a novel approach to storytelling. This quirky love story is destined to amuse and entertain a wide audience. —tiff.net
This movie was spot on. The imagery was beautiful. Simplistic, yet meaningful dialog, tied together with small monologs. The music, editing, characters, the whole movie was fantastic. Although two hours is a long run time, it does not feel like that at all. The arch of the story takes a sudden yet beautiful twist at the end. It all leads to one point, which is impossible to get if you change even a fraction of it.
A grand film about loneliness and a persons place in the modern world, compressed with our own struggles and desires and a need to be saved. Brilliant performances and though the second act wobbles, this film is one of few to have me in tears. It demonstrates that a man could grow and make his own noodles and have it be a life changing experience, it's the need to create that matters. Bravo.