13 May 2008 | c-kelsall
Even crazy people need love
I am a big fan of Park Chan-Wook's "Vengeance" trilogy, and though I knew this would be a different beast, I was keen to see it nonetheless. It is essentially the story of two young people with acute mental problems caused by family troubles. The first, Young- Goon, is a girl who believes she is a cyborg, and is sectioned after attempting to recharge while working on a radio manufacture production line. The second is a young man played by the apparently famous Korean singer Rain (I regret to say I can't confirm his celebrity as I know nothing about Korean pop), who is certainly a talented actor based on the evidence here. He believes, and makes other inmates believe, that he can "steal" anything, including their personal traits and characteristics. Young-Goon won't eat because her delusion convinces her that if she does she will break down irreparably, but she is befriended by Il-Sun (Rain) who devotes his energies to coming up with a strategy for getting her to eat. This film contains moments of mad genius, which I won't divulge here, but for all it's flaws it's worth seeing just for the fantasy set-pieces. However, it touches on mawkish sentimentality at times (a condition not previously noted in Park's films), and initially the inhabitants of the sanitarium seem comedic caricatures who are there merely for our voyeuristic amusement. I'm A Cyborg is definitely at it's best when Park indulges his flair for stunning visual sequences and imaginative story-telling. So while I don't rate it as highly as I do his "Vengeance" films, it certainly warrants pride of place in modern Korean cinema.