Monday 18 August 2008

I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK [2007]

Maverick Korean auteur Park Chan-Wook’s latest film and his first since he completed his vaunted Vengeance Trilogy with the aesthetic Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, has literally opened new doors (even by his standards) insofar as quirky film-making is concerned. The movie takes place in a mental asylum, and is absolutely unique in that it presents the world from the point-of-view of the mentally ill. Ultimately it is a whimsical yet heartfelt love story between a recently institutionalized frail, young girl who believes she is a cyborg who must seek (you guessed it) vengeance against “the white ones” and a good-natured, anti-social guy who has convinced his fellow inmates that he can steal people’s personality traits. Even though filled with vintage Park moments, character sketches, idiosyncrasies, craziness and a twisted sense of humour, it however feels a bit stretched, jaded and messy, especially in the last third act. At the end of the day I must add that even though this isn’t an exceptional movie per se – at times it is almost a failure by Park’s standards, it is a very brave and passionate attempt nonetheless.

Director: Park Chan-Wook
Genre: Comedy/Black Comedy/Social Satire/Romantic Drama/Asylum Movie/Experimental
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea


sitenoise said...

Shubhajit, you are so even-handed. ;) I agree that it wanders around a bit but I loved this movie! I just watched (and reviewed) Welcome to the Quiet Room and it made me wax nostalgic for another viewing of I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot for you views and appreciation. Despite its pitfalls, this is indeed a very honest & heartfelt effort from Park - a movie that does deserve a second viewing.

sitenoise said...

"honest and heartfelt" ... ya see, I like those qualities. I'm in a minority, I know, but I felt the V-trilogy to be indulgent and over-dramatic (not overly, over). I can't imagine watching any of them again. (J.S.A., on the other hand, I've seen twice and will watch again)

I think my "rating" system is a direct reflection of how much I want to see the film again, as opposed to a "grade" on how 'well-made' I think the film is. If I watch a film and when it's over I find myself thinking "I can't wait to watch this again", five stars. Simple.

I remember feeling that way when Cyborg finished. It's arty and smart and weird. Three more qualities I like. But I don't disagree with any of the shortcomings you point out.

Shubhajit said...

Thats a wonderful way of putting on paper (e-paper to be more precise) the logic behind your rating system. And know what, usually always, the rating system does in a way reflect how much we liked the movie and consequently our chances of going for multiple viewings. For me, the social & cultural aspects, too, are important. However had the movie's fame & critical acclaim gets better of the simple joy associated with watching the movie, i guess it would be a very shallow thing to do. So i'm with you on this one.

And well, unfortunately i haven't watched JSF yet (though hopefully that'll be corrected soon). However i fell in love with Park's Vengeance Trilogy, esp. Oldboy - it was awesome to say the least. Some disagreement is good after all i guess.