Starring: Lim Soo-jung, Rain, Choi Hie-jin
Director: Park Chan-wook
Running Time: 105 mins
I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK is a South Korean film about a young woman who believes she is a cyborg who is admitted to a mental hospital, where she meets a kind man who thinks he can steal other people’s souls.
I think the title alone speaks volumes for what you’re getting from this film. I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK is easily one of the most bizarre cinematic experiences I’ve ever had, but it’s also one of the most unique, and as a result incredibly captivating. With a combination of stunningly weird direction from Park Chan-wook and a heartfelt and intelligent story, the film is absolutely enthralling throughout, and it leaves an impression that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Obviously, with a title like ‘I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK’, I was expecting weirdness to ensue right from the start of this film, and that’s exactly what happened. Brilliantly, however, the film starts off with such a strikingly bizarre opening sequence that I was completely hooked from then on. At times disturbing it may be, but I was so impressed by this film’s ability to take such a far-out story and turn it into a compelling watch that I couldn’t help but love every minute of it.
Fortunately, Park strikes a perfect balance between the bizarre atmosphere and a coherent and engrossing story. If this film were all about the various eclectic personalities in the mental institution, then it would without doubt have run out of steam long before the end, but what Park does is change the direction and atmosphere of the film as it moves along, making for a more unpredictable, and therefore more captivating watch.
At first, the film is all about going full-out with the weird factor. I did think that the portrayal of some of the patients at the mental hospital was a tad insensitive, poking a bit too much fun at some at times, so if you’re likely to be offended by that sort of thing, then I’d think twice about watching this movie. For the most part, however, the film does very well to establish some real characters in between the craziness of its opening act, where you’re introduced to a variety of strange characters and events.
As the film goes on, however, the story begins to focus a lot more on our main two characters, whose relationship grows stronger as they face some very big obstacles. The film never lets up on its eccentric atmosphere, but in comparison to the more comedic opening act, the final half of this film is a very heartfelt look at the caring relationship between these two characters, a refreshing addition to the odd atmosphere that I really enjoyed.
In the end, I was utterly perplexed by this film. Its story is impressive, intelligent and engaging, but its stand-out feature is its uniquely bizarre atmosphere. However, no matter how far it goes into the realms of pure weirdness, I just couldn’t take my eyes of the screen, and that’s why I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK gets an 8.0 from me.