Movie: I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Ok
My Rating: 4 stars
Now, here’s a slightly older film from Park Chan-wook. Not quite as old as his Vengeance Trilogy, but I’d overlooked it for quite a while. I’m a big fan of Park’s films. He’s a great storyteller. And, this one is just as quirky and strange as any of his other films. Although, this one isn’t quite as dark as his typical fare. Of course, it’d be impossible for Park Chan-wook to make a movie without any darkness at all. But this one—a romantic comedy set in a mental hospital—is about as light and frothy as we’re likely to get from him.
Cha Young-goon is a mentally ill girl from a family with a history of schizophrenia. She hears voices, and sees visions. But, the real issue is her recent epiphany that she’s really a cyborg who has only been living the life of a normal girl. And, after one little incident at work where she opens her arm, shoves some wire inside, and then tries to plug herself into the wall, Young-goon is quickly sent packing to a residential mental facility. There, staff can keep an eye on her “suicidal” tendencies. But, the staff don’t understand. Young-goon isn’t trying to kill herself. She needs to lick batteries and stick her fingers in sockets to “recharge” herself. She is a robot after all. And, she isn’t anorexic. If she were to eat people food, she’d just gum up her internal machinery and break. Of course, the facility is full of all kinds of other inmates, each with his own personal problems. And, the staff don’t seem to be particularly dedicated to getting to the bottom of their delusions. So, the patients are pretty much left to rile each other up and stew in their fantasies. But, some of the inmates are interested in helping each other. And, one (attractive male) inmate in particular has taken it upon himself to help out Young-goon.
Based on the description, this movie could be one of many things. It could be a cheesy feel-good movie. It could be a psychological horror. But Park Chan-wook has decided to take this movie in the direction of a dark comedy. He isn’t necessarily making fun of mental illness. But, he’s definitely using it as a tool to shed light on all humans’ humorous weaknesses. I enjoyed this movie a lot, and I wasn’t really expecting to. I’ll admit that I had forgotten that it was directed by Park until I got the disk and looked at it. And, at that point my hopes for it improved. Of course, this isn’t one his best films. Park Chan-wook really works best when you give him a big drama and a lot of space to spread out. But for what it is, this silly little romantic comedy is quite delightful.