Reviews of I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK
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A film that’s hard to synopsize, you have to be engulfed in the character ‘Young-Goon’s world to understand and appreciate the themes at play here. This is what the film attempts to provide in the first five minutes in a kind of prologue to the plot, and I believe it does a fine job.
I will try to explain this surreal world in words for you; Young-Goon is a young woman who has developed a mental illness that has made her believe she is a cyborg. Whilst at work (perhaps for reasons of monotony and inappreciation) Young-Goon, as a cyborg, thinks she needs to charge herself up by electrocuting herself. This act sees her sectioned at a mental institute where she meets fellow patient II-Sun, a young characteristic thief, who takes it upon himself to help Young-Goon. Along side this a history of mental illness in the women of Young-Goon’s family becomes apparent.
From the start, the film delves into a world of mental innocence, and stays a consistently sweet fantasy throughout. Though it does have dark undertones, it concentrates on the admirable characteristics of human behaviour and it is a spiritful, uplifting watch.
The film is jam-packed with visual symbolism relating to the human psyche, but these symbols are very recognisable and easy to relate to. The losing of teeth used to connote stress, for example, and shrinking into a dot to represent insignificance. Whilst the use of this technique is both cleverly intertextual and entertaining, it can become bombarding at times.
The impact of colour used in this film is something to be marvelled at. The cinematography is quite fantastic thanks to the awe-inspiring work of Chung-Hoon Chung, who has worked with Chan-Wook Park on Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. You are in for a treat with I’m a Cyborg… in terms of its beautiful imagery.
More than most this film really needs to be experienced to understand the real magic it depicts. Not a film for everyone, it lacks the pace and edge of the The Vengeance trilogy, but for most this won’t be seen as a negative and the otherworldly charm will sing out and enchant.
I have heard the ending of this film has been found disappointing and is thought to fizzle out. I have to say I felt the opposite. The final scene was shot all outside of the institute, which I think showed they had both been able to overcome their illness. The theme of innocence that played out throughout the film was finally broken at the last minute and with a perfect rainbow beaming to represent a new start.
A young woman who believes she’s a cyborg hears voices and harms herself while at work making radios. She’s hospitalized in a mental institution where she eats nothing and talks to inanimate objects. She’s Young-goon, granddaughter of a woman who thought she was a mouse (and whose dentures Young-goon wears) and a mother who’s a butcher without much social grace. Young-goon comes to the attention of Il-sun, a ping-pong playing patient at the institution who makes it his goal to get her to eat. Will he succeed? Which way does sanity lie?
This is a crazy film that if you are not following or on it’s wavelength by the first third of the movie . You are not going to enjoy the rest.
The film certainly stays creative and sweet throughout more like a fantasy that is colorful and quirky. It seems to coast on that alone. While trying to come into some kind of reality. It quickly realizes it’s best to stay on the farcical road, especially since it is mainly a comedy.
This is Chan-Wook Park’s first film after the vengeance trilogy of OLDBOY, SYMPATHY FOR MR.VENGENCE and LADY VENGENCE. This is a welcome departure that is more light-hearted. Not as down trodden. While allowing for a violent scene or two though played much lighter then it could have been.
I would compare the film to AMELIE with it’s surreal visuals, Fast pacing, Main characters who are on a single minded mission yet who carry an innocence. The movie is still not suitable for kids. Only AMELIE while more totally a fantasy which this film is also not only has a payoff, but more of a narrative coherence. This film is a bit hard to follow as we jump in and out of fantasy that the film allows us to get lost in as well as the patients.
The film has a great introduction that misleads the audience yet seems to work to illuminate the story to us and throw us into the action. Leaving the film to be a bit confusing as to whether the other patient also delve into the delusion s of each other or even see each other as equals yet still a bit off.
I found myself admiring the male lead as it seemed at first like he overcame his mind state to help cure the female lead and morph hers into what will help her stay healthy, yet let her stay in her delusion in safe way. If this were a film about real mental illness while sweet it could be seen as sweetly wrong as he makes her more or less dependent on him .Since she believes she is a robot it seems she might not have a choice as he is the engineer for her.
Though he continues in his delusions only adds her disability to his though he knows. She is human he can get lost in her delusions.
This is a film that is more magical then it can totally explain. it’s to be seen and experienced.
You also are left to marvel at the filmmaking, the imagination and skill that went into making this film the original concoction that it is. The filmmaking and never takes you out of the film. Now whimsical and weird isn’t always when it comes to films for me. Here it worked to a degree. Though it’s a wonderful world to visit. I wouldn’t want to live there and the visit seemed a bit long. The film could have been cut by 10 -15 minutes as it feels like it wears out it’s welcome.
A lot of people dislike the ending. I dislike it as well. Their isn’t really one. This film which has been so inventive up to this point. Begins a build up towards the end only to peter out into nothing while it is sweet. It is also a disappointment. When the film was coasting on so much goodwill and invention.
- Currently 2.0/5 Stars.
While watching this, I couldn’t help but think on other films that had caused for me a similar vibe, namely Takashi Miike’s “The Happiness of the Katakuris” and, well, actually any film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It has a whimsical, demented, determined happiness that you are either on board with from the beginning or not.
After the Vengeance trilogy and “Thirst”, it’s not what i was expecting, and if anything I was pleasantly surprised. A story about retribution for the ones we love even when no one, including ourselves, seem to understand. Park Chan-wook seems to always be contemplating those circumstances outside ourselves that force us into the choices we make. “I’m a Cyborg…” is definitely his most lighthearted prism to date, and consequently his most accessible.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Beautiful visuals and two exceptionally strong leads, backed by a great cast. The directing and cinematography had some real dazzling concepts. I have to say, I was forewarned about the ending and it did rather help me to enjoy the film more than if I hadn’t known what to expect. I won’t go into details of course, but if a viewer is like me and isn’t affected by spoilers that much, then it might be handy to have a browse of IMDB or ask a friend. It’s the only weak point of this movie, in my opinion.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.