Director Chan-wook Park
Stars Su-jeong Im & Rain
Things You Might Like
- Joyous and uplifting
- Beautifully filmed scenes of fantasy and reality
- Balanced romance of the lead pairing
- Inventive moments of escapism
- Unusual love story at its heart
Things You Might Not Like
- A real lack of cynicism
- Nothing like Park’s previous
- Not a moments thought for mainstream entertainment
I’m A Cyborg is a masterpiece of inventive, romantic and uplifting cinema. Chan-wook Park displays a tenderness of touch that shines a light on a warmth that even a robot can’t deny.
5 out of 5 Licked Batteries
In his first film after the much acclaimed Vengeance Trilogy, director Chan-wook Park decided to accentuate the positives with his 2006 film I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK. Turning from brutally violent revenge films to a quirky romantic comedy, Park showcased his range and made a strong case for a shot at a first English language movie.
Set predominantly inside the walls of an asylum, Cyborg tracks the interweaved lives of two inmates. One (Su-jeong Im as Young-goon) thinks she is a robot (hence the title), the other (Rain as Il-sun) spends most of his time behind a home made rabbit mask stealing other people’s characteristics. Il-sun takes a shine to the new arrival and so begins a classic unlikely partnership romance.
The change of direction works wonders for the director, whose previous trilogy was getting weaker towards the end. His success shouldn’t surprise those who’ve followed Park’s career; while it was the violence that made the poster quotes, it was the tender moments that anchored his work and provided lightness to darken the dark. This time around it’s pure lightness though and nothing short of a refreshing joy to watch. Any cynicism needs to be left at the door; Cyborg is a masterpiece of the indie rom-com that Hollywood has come to embrace of late (See any Michael Cera movie).
The delights of Cyborg are almost innumerable; every piece of the puzzle fits together perfectly. The cinematography is kept bright throughout the time in the asylum and scenes that bring to life the central couple’s delusions. The only time the picture dims is during brief flashbacks of Young-goon’s life before the asylum. So bright are the white-walled corridors and sunlit asylum gardens that the line between delusion and reality is never clear. Patients act out their fantasies in a world that could just as easily be real life as inside a character’s head.
Essential to any good romantic comedy is its lead pairing, an area where Cyborg again excels. Su-jeong Im inhabits the odd world of Young-goon with unnerving brilliance. Her mechanical movements and blank outlook wander the line between her truly held belief she is a robot and the limits of a body trying to survive without food or emotion. Rain balances her icy calm with a variety of quirks as his character develops by stealing parts of other peoples’ psychoses. His highly emotional presence and interest in Young-goon is the real plot motivator – his decision to help her incites the events that drive their relationship. Like any good robot Young-goon responds as expected to outside influences.
There’s no doubt that Cyborg is a modern masterpiece of filmmaking. It is pure sunshine cinema, an absolute delight to watch and a joyous beacon of unusual romance. Cyborg does everything that odd, indie rom-coms do in the west (See Eagle Vs Shark, (500) Days of Summer) and then adds Park’s inventive visual style and adept skill with tender moments. Just as good as any of his more famous Vengeance films, Cyborg is as much a perfect CV as it is an uplifting night in.
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