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  • I have to say, I really don't see where all the dislike and criticisms come from. Granted, Cyborg is a far different film from all of Park's other works, and especially in the world of romantic comedies falls into the really freaking weird category, but I found it to be really entertaining. It was very sweet, but in a good way. No excessive cuteness, no magical cure to being crazy. The crazy people are crazy, and that ain't gonna change anytime soon. The cinematography and visuals were great. I really loved the set design of the hospital. And all of the side characters were a great cast of crazies. I have not watched a great deal of Korean cinema, and have never seen the leads in anything before. I live in Korea, so I'm very aware of Rain (or Be, as its pronounced here), but I thought that both pulled off their rolls very well, especially the girl. If you are looking for something fun, light hearted and a little bizarre, check this out. Just know that it is not your normal Park Chan Wook film.
  • Have you ever had an out of the body experience? Or a waking dream? One minute you're asleep, having this fantastic dream. Maybe you have to fly across buildings or solve a problem or any weird stuff in this dream. Then you're almost awake, but not quite. You hang on to the dream, not wanting to wake up. Don't you hate it when someone tries to rush you? Hey! Wake up! No - go away - I wanna finish my dream!

    I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK reminds you of so many different movies in the first ten minutes. You try to fit it into a box. Hey! It's like so-and-so! But it's not. The vision that director Chan-wook Park presents us with is foreign, so alien to any genre, that our mind is confused. Maybe you have to give up all expectation before you can enjoy it.

    Young-goon thinks she is a cyborg. A nice, normal young girl otherwise, that is her only kink. Hello mental institution. She can't eat of course - food makes her ill (really) so she licks batteries of various sorts as other inmates tuck into their dinner. She's lonely, and talks to machines. The drinks dispenser is one of her favourites. But she's not a psycho - as she will point out - "I'm not a psycho: I'm a cyborg."

    As inmates go, Young-goon is fairly low maintenance. Most of the anti-social patients are weird beyond belief. But it is a young man called Il-soon who manages to reach out to her where doctors have failed. Il-soon believes all sorts of things - like believing he has the power to steal intangibles from people, such as character, attitudes or habits. His services are soon in demand among the other patients.

    Young-goon has some internal conflicts. For cyborgs, there are seven deadly sins, and they give her some problems. The seven deadly sins for a cyborg are:

    Sympathy. Sadness. Restlessness. Hesitating. Useless day-dreaming. Feeling guilty. Thankfulness.

    Of all these sins, sympathy is the worst.

    Interestingly, the inmates are like parts of the body: they compensate for each other's particular shortcomings and have very sane insights into kinds of madness not their own.

    When the film becomes a love story, it is not one based on lust and idiocy. The funny farm becomes a parable for a world in which we need to believe in and accept each other's failings. Chan-wook Park has crafted perhaps the most original film of the year and one of the most moving. It comments on the nature of belief, and on a humanity that we are in danger of losing through cleverness. It features colourful characters and scenes that make us gasp. There is enough creativity in I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK for ten films, not just one. Constantly defying expectation, it even manages to treat with respect the question of mental illness (which is used largely as a metaphor or plot device). When we see the pain and suffering of real mental illness, it is clear that Chan-wook Park is not mocking.

    I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK takes Chan-wook Park's reputation as a master filmmaker and builds it even further. Having established himself with films of violent realism, it may upset fans of Old Boy and Lady Vengeance. And while I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK is not about hyper-violence and the metaphysics of revenge, the dizzying array of ideas may be more than many audiences can stomach in one sitting. It may just seem so off-the-wall that you lose patience before the story gets going. Which would be a shame.

    So maybe take a very deep breath. Make sure your batteries are fully charged. If it doesn't blow you out the cinema - I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK - may just blow your mind.
  • Director Park Chan Wook is known for creating very eccentric films, including his widely known 'vengeance trilogy'. In the interviews that he had with the Korean press, he said that he made 'Saibogujiman kwenchana'because he wanted to take it easy after finishing his vengeance trilogy. While it is definitely much less violent and different from his previous films, it certainly has a strong touch that separates director Park from the average movie director.

    The storyline is simple,yet it is something that has never been tried before. Two patients at a mental hospital fall in love with each other. Young Goon(brilliantly played by Lim Soo Jung)is a patient who thinks she's a cyborg, having a strong dislike towards doctors(because they took away her grandmother when she was young)and not eating food for fear that her robot-body would break down. Il Soon(played by the sensational singer Rain)is a patient who thinks that he can steal other people's abilities and has a fear of being demolished from the world.

    It's simple yet complicated because there are twists and turns everywhere that Park leaves unexplained. It's not your average blockbuster, I don't even know if foreigners would like this movie,seeing as that Lim Soo Jung and Rain are not famous in the western world.(although Rain was named one of the 100most influential people by Time Magazine last year) But in a world where the film industry is running out of ideas, this film is definitely outstanding, unlike the average cliché Korean love stories filled with Cinderella stories and triangular relationships. How many people could think up such a beautiful love story that takes place at a mental hospital? After watching this film, I truly understand why Park Chan Wook is a great film director. He's not the kind of director that only directs safe,cash-guaranteed blockbusters. He's the sort of director(like Kim Ki Duk)who takes a challenge and tries to create a new chapter in cinema history. Already rumors are spreading in Korea that this film is a front runner for next year's Cannes International Film Festival. Although I think it is totally a rumor, I do wish that this competes at Cannes, a festival that elevated Park into worldwide fame.
  • Ill try to somehow review this in short although im one of the persons who is mindblowed by this movie.

    Sure im biased to like Chan-wook Parks movies since i could laugh at about any scene with his simple but spot on dialogues and tiny hints of humor. I'm a cyborg, but that's OK is however very different from Oldboy or any of the sympathy trilogy movies. It has what Hollywood lacks, no clues and great depth as opposed to a great deal of clues with no depth. To make a long story short, if the maincharacter needs to take a pee, she doesn't first consult with the camera so that the viewer is sure to understand what is going on. Now this to some can be a big drawback, why i believe the overall score on IMDb is relatively low. So beware if you aren't interested in any of the psychological, spiritual or philosophical thoughts that the movie is offering, because it is packed full.

    Cha Young-goon, the main character played by Su-jeong Lim is experiencing a big trauma in her youth and - perhaps - copes by 'becoming' a cyborg (You could guess her inspiration comes from her grandma - the rat) and with it comes some guidelines, the Sins. sympathy, feeling guilty and useless daydreaming are some of them. These becomes her obstacles in her path to rid the earth of the whiteuns - her caretakers on the mental hospital. There you have it. Now you do get clues as to why she wants to go on a killing spree but i wont include spoilers here.

    The soundtrack is well-timed and good. The acting from just about any in the cast are great. They don't have easy characters to portrait and you would think they had many pointers and clues as how to interpret them because they feel very authentic. The patients all have some kind of psychological disorder, everything from only being able to walk backwards to having the ability to steal peoples characteristics. Therein lies much of the humor. From outside they look disoriented and in chaos, but Chan-wook takes us on a fascinating journey inside their heads. The patients all seem to understand each other on another level than the caretakers do and it is beautiful to watch. The movie jumps from being funny to deep to emotional over and over again and im left totally drained out at the end of the movie. It doesn't matter that the ending is abrupt, if you feel like me, you want to watch it again and again to pick up on things you missed and to go through the emotions all over again.

    I will have to be bold and say that although Oldboy is not far behind, this is the best from Chan-wook Park and hence one of the best movies period.
  • There are ways to do romantic comedies, just as their are ways of doing sincere dark comedies set in mental hospitals, and Chan-Wook Park goes to fantastic and unexpected lengths of subverting expectations with truly nutty- and this may be the nuttiest movie to come out of Korea this, uh, month- ideas and visuals being explored, while never skimping on making these people to care about. And yes, the "cyborg" Cha Young-Goon (Su-Jeung Lim), at first seems like a typical nut, or what one might stereotype as. Indeed, as I thought more about it, what Park goes for is almost experimental; what would it be like to have as the pivotal character of a movie the person in the loony bin who is near unresponsive to other people and who won't eat any food? At first we're plunged into her mind-set: she's a cyborg, after all, and she marks up her energy levels by her toes lighting up, and takes in such energy by licking batteries as opposed to regular consumption.

    But she also has a troubled past, though more-so in the memories of her grandmother, whom she was closest with, and who we see in flashbacks was tossed away into a sanitarium, as Young-Goon was eventually, instead of actually dealing with them as real fellow family members. It's hard not to get caught up further into her much more real plight when shock treatment comes around, and that the feeding tubes just won't do any good. From the sound of this it sounds like a really tragic story, and in a way it is. But on the other hand, it absolutely isn't all the same. It's Park's funniest film, loaded with his bravura sense of style that is brutally self-conscious with the camera (lots of wonderful usages of color from greens to reds to whites and blues and so on, 360' pans, high-flying shots, a great split-screen involving two characters in two separate solitary rooms connected by two cups and a string) as well as with very assured direction. To see someone make films like 'Cyborg' or Oldboy is to see someone who doesn't mind obviously flashy moments, because there are just as many moments that are more intimate in connection between the characters.

    But as I said, it's a very funny movie, with the various character in the mental hospital veritable caricatures: there's one guy who got tossed in by apologizing to everyone involved in an accident he wasn't involved in, and one fat woman who when not stealing Young-Goon's food is trying to get static electricity going from rubbing her feet, and random characters doing wacky things in the halls behind main characters talking. There's a big belly laugh at the 'picture book' of the Cyborg's, where it lists the seven deadly sins, inexplicably linked to the torture and murder of cats in the classic storybook pictures. There's even an actor who comes closest to looking like the Korean Bruce Campbell! And the scenes with Young-Goon going into super-violent mode as the cyborg and shooting everything in sight ranks right up with the corridor fight sequence in Oldboy as Park at his most staggering in choreographing mayhem.

    But then there's Rain's character Park Il-sun, who is the counterpoint for Young-Goon, as he's just a crazy thief in on his fifth voluntary commitment. He'll be hopping around one moment, or imagining himself going very tiny so as to not be noticed. But what the two of them share, no matter what, is vulnerability, which soon they see in each other (or at least Il-Sun sees in Young-Goon), with scenes showing either one crying their eyes out actually being earned. It's as much of a credit to the actors as it is to Park that none of this is false sentimentality, and out of the wild comedy there is subtext always present, of the director meeting the willing audience member halfway- it is a mental hospital, and no matter how crazy it can be they aren't tapped out of life completely. This makes up the emotional tie between the two main characters, and the struggle to compromise a mental state that can't be fixed and a more pragmatic goal- eating food- leads to a real emotional highlight.

    Only the denouement, or what could be considered that perhaps, as there's a nuke/bomb element thrown in with outdoor rain scenes that feel real unnecessary (albeit there's a tremendous final shot for the film), and little bits involving the supporting characters that could be left out (what's with the guy that won't stop yelling?). Otherwise, this is still prime work going on, daring even, as far as blending together some real surrealistic tendencies with the kind of spirit that went into One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It takes guts to put the personal with the wacky, but somehow I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK pulls it off better than any other film I can't think of in recent memory.
  • This film is an alternative comedy about the love between two psychiatric patients in a mental hospital.

    The way the film opened was entertaining and clever. The psychotic factory girl almost killed herself under psychotic influence, against a background of cyborg looking factory workers who move in a coordinated and stereotyped way. There is really a contrast as to who is normal and who is abnormal.

    The film contains a lot of absurd and yet convincing ways of how mental patients can be weird. In addition, the main characters' development are excellent. The reasons why they became psychotic were given convincingly. Despite all the absurdities, viewers get to feel for the characters.

    It is an alternative romantic comedy. It does not strive to have perfect characters with the perfect life. It is down to earth and realistic. Viewing the world through a psychotic lens is definitely interesting.
  • Cha Young-goon thinks she's a cyborg. She works in a factory, where the employees all wear bright red and sit in neat, identical rows. One day, she slits her wrist and inserts an electrical cable into the wound in an attempt to recharge herself. Unsurprisingly, she is committed to a mental hospital.

    The hospital is coloured in a similar stylistic vein, with lovely pastel shades of primary colours. It's all very different from writer/director's Park Chan-wook's previous films; his bleak Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance fades into black and white half way through the film. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK is definitely a radical departure, although it does retain Park's visual quirkiness.

    Young-goon has Cher-like hair, and wide, innocent eyes; we instantly fall in love with her. Once committed, she begins talking to vending machines and strip lights, using her grandmother's dentures. She also refuses to eat, preferring instead to lick batteries. This attracts the attention of mask-wearing Park Il-sun, fellow patient and kleptomaniac. But Il-sun is not your average, run-of-the-mill pickpocket; he steals the intangible, such as memories, table tennis skill, or politeness.

    It is not long before Young-goon enlists Il-sun to steal her sympathy. You see, Young-goon needs to rescue her grandmother, who has also been committed, and kill the doctors holding her prisoner. But she can't stop worrying that her victims have grandmothers of their own. And, as we all know, sympathy is one of the seven deadly robotic sins. (The others include thankfulness, hesitation, and useless daydreaming.) It's all very strange. Refreshingly strange, in fact. Two odd highlights are a yodelling interlude, and an extended Peckinpah-style bloodbath, complete with finger guns. The unusual plot and set pieces are complemented by an equally unusual look. Park's idiosyncratic visual flair translates well from the darkness and violence of his vengeance trilogy, to the lighter world of this romantic comedy. The mental hospital looks like no hospital I've ever seen, with bright green padded rooms, deep red maintenance corridors, and even a hiccupping grandfather clock. The CGI, whether due to budget constraints or artistic choice, has that artificial quality seen all too often, but here it adds to the films carefully crafted aesthetic. It's almost as if we're seeing the hospital through the eyes of the patients; everything seems not quite real. Or perhaps too real.

    There is a shaky start, though. Throughout the first half of the film, as we are amused by Young-goon's robotic shenanigans, we are also distanced from her. I'm a Cyborg's charming eccentricities threaten to overwhelm the proceedings, bury the characters in their own strangeness. Thankfully, the really quite genuine relationship between Young-goon and Il-sun injects some much needed humanity, and as the film progresses, we begin to learn more of, and sympathise with, Young-goon's plight.

    I'm a Cyborg is one of those rare and welcome films that you cannot help but smile through. Young-goon's innocent eyes, the hospital's pastel-coloured walls, the glorious flights of fancy; it all makes for one of the most charming, and definitely the oddest, romantic comedy I have seen in a long time. Odd in the good way, though.
  • dorkaaa15 May 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Park Chan-Wook's latest is charming and entertaining, a must see movie. The main characters are mentally retarded, but absolutely cute, and lovable. Young-Goon thinks she's a cyborg, so she talks to the coffee machine, telephone , etc., and generally eschews normal human activities like eating. In her mind, she's a cyborg and only requires a good battery recharge. In reality, she's on her way to starvation. Il-sun, a young man who supposedly possesses the power to steal another person's soul. Young-Goon takes an interest in Il-Sun because she wants him to steal her humanity, so that she'll be able to execute the doctors with her bullet-shooting fingers. Il-Sun tries to help her before her cyborg fantasies end in her own death... I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK looks like a light, romantic comedy, but it has a dark side too. Absurd, surreal, and maybe at the end we find out the meaning of existence :)

    MUST SEE!
  • The director's stamp is all over I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK. It's filled with the trademark beautiful visuals, bold uses of colour and CG flourishes fans of Park Chan-wook will appreciate. Also familiar from his Vengeance Trilogy are the imaginative fantasy sequences, and a similar score that gives off the impression of a director putting on a pair of comfortable slippers.

    The film though is a disappointing misfire. While it picks up in the second half where something resembling a plot kicks in, far too much time is spent on frankly boring episodes, with a script that seems content to observe the goings-on inside the mental hospital where the film takes place without commenting on them or concern for narrative impetus. After nearly an hour or so of this it's tempting to switch off, and I wish I could say the pay-off was worth persevering for, but it falls just short.

    There are a handful of wonderful individual moments in the picture, particularly in the second half: the amateur surgery to implant a device into our heroine's back, a tense cafeteria sequence where the patients are as nervous about the outcome of a meal as the audience, a couple of magical but all-too-brief musical numbers, doctors mown down in a hail of bullets. They're incorporated seamlessly into the movie, but they have a tendency to stick out like sore thumbs considering everything surrounding them is so dull.

    Ultimately it's quite a touching film with some funny moments - and it looks gorgeous - but it doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose and fails more often than not in its attempts to be quirky.
  • Like all good movies, "I'm a Cyborg" is more than the sum of its plot points. So don't be put off by the synopsis. Normally, the minute I'm hearing "modern fairy tale", "touching love story", or "poetic images", I'll turn tail and run. But when I found out this is by the guy who made "Old Boy", I knew it had to be different. And it is. Think "Angels of the Universe" meets "Twelve Monkeys", packed with visual thrills. The opening sequence is one of the biggest kicks of its kind.Wheels are spinning are gears are grinding in pale translucent green, vaguely reminiscent of x-ray images. It turns out we are observing a Cyborg's inner life, cleverly interwoven with the opening scenes of the actual feature. Before we really understand how Cha (cover girl Su-Jeong Lim) ended up on the funny farm, the camera is gliding downstairs in an impossible dolly shot, smoothly passing through closed doors, down to the asylum's mysterious sub-basement with its candy-colored pipework. In the course of the movie's 105 minutes, Chan-Wook Park takes us from Seoul to the Swiss alps and back again. I say, forget Bollywood. South Korea is the new Hollywood.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pure treat of a film this, couldn't of come along at a better and flatter period in cinema and specially Asian cinema. Chan-wook Park bravely steps away from the formula that sent his name buzzing around the world movie scene and delivers for me one of the highlights film wise of the year.

    Other comments unfairly mention this is boring, I beg to differ surely truly boring cinema is the 100s and 1000s of films that come out each year with the sole aim copying other films ideas. Namely the sequels and remakes and rip-off's we get a glut of.

    This thankfully is a true unique feeling film sure One Flew Over A Cuckoo's Nest & 12 Monkeys spring to mind, but that's purely due to the setting. Closest in feel would be the films of Michael Gondry & Lindsay Anderson.

    A whopping 8/10 from me, would of been 8.5 but IMDb doesn't like halves.

    TURN OFF EXPECTATIONS AND SAVIOUR BRILLIANT FILM MAKING.
  • Chan Wook Park is nothing if not inventive. I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OK is chock full of amusing little technical flourishes with some ingenious ideas sprinkled in between. Attempting to walk in the footsteps of the likes of Marc Caro and Jeunet (CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, DELICATESSEN), Park embarks on a fanciful, lighthearted tale which is a radical departure from his usual morbid fare. Hardly one to be faulted for his ambition or his vision, it is genuinely unexpected, then, to see all Park's effort add up to so very little.

    I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OK seems astonishingly to subtract from itself as it goes along, with the the end result being a fraction of the sum of its parts. The premise is promising, gags are copious and offbeat humour abounds but it all fails miserably to create any meaningful connection with the audience. The characters are cute and quirky and played with gusto by the cast, but, try as i might, i could not bring myself to care for any.

    SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE was a misstep, indicating perhaps that Park was overindulging himself a little bit, but it still managed to showcase some of the director's unique flare and in the wake of an impressive filmography, was readily forgiven. None of the assured confidence that commanded JOINT SECURITY AREA or SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE is evident here. I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OK left me so utterly unengaged i caught myself instinctively fast forwarding from time to time (more regularly as the film progressed). I gave LADY a 5/10, and by that measure, this probably deserves no more than a 3. For old time's sake, i'll be generous: 4/10
  • The story: Young-goon is a girl whose family has a history of mental illness. She ends up in a mental institution after she starts believing that she is in fact a cyborg. In the institution she meets Park Il-sun, a young man who develops a bond with her.

    If you're reading this you probably already know how talented Chan-wook Park is. But 'I'm A Cyborg...' is a big departure from familiar, and (sadly) stronger territory. I'm a big fan of any film or story which is attempting to do something different. God knows, we all get subjected to enough crap at our local cinemas. The main point about the movie I need to say is, that it fails to say anything about mental illness, or create a characters that you care about.

    This story has to be one of the weirdest things I've seen in years...but weird isn't enough. There's no heart to the movie...just surrealism and confusion. Confusion does seem to be the main theme of the movie. The characters all try to make sense of their own problems, but it's Chan-wook Park himself who proves to be the most confused of them all.
  • 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.
  • Despite boosting one of Korea's most successful idol Rain in his first feature outing, and director Park Chan-Wook of Sympathy of Lady Vengeance fame, fans in Korea were less than impressed with I'm a Cyborg, But that's Okay.

    The 'problem' with this movie is that it does not fall into the cookie cutter of Korean melodrama of soapy tales with dying protagonist of unrequited love. Neither does it feature picturesque landmarks of mountains, trees and buildings all so typical. In fact, it is nothing we have ever seen before.

    Instead of a pale long haired female lead, Lim Su-Jeong (Tale of Two Sisters) is refreshing as Young-goon, a paranoid schizophrenic who thinks she is a half cyborg. She doesn't eat as she charges herself with battery, sticks herself with wires and talks to fluorescent lamps. Il-Sun (Rain), a mental institution mate who steals personality traits from other patients, is secretly in love with her.

    Using fanatical and violent characters is nothing new in director Park Chan-wook's movies, and what the movie has to offer is really out of this world. Conservative audiences may be completed bewildered with the bizarre story and wacky characters, from an apologetic patient who walks backward, a liar who suffers from memory loss and obese bully who craves to fly with her red and green socks.

    I think the director wants the audience to look beyond the strange and peculiar characters, and that a universal theme of love and dreams can be applied to just any person. Love is all about acceptance and sacrifice, isn't it? It doesn't have to fall into the same mould that all other movies would use.

    You have to applaud Director Park for his ambitious and highly imaginative take in a movie industry like Korea. Although it is cannot be considered a romantic comedy, audience will laugh and be thrilled by the stylistic directing, spirited soundtrack (which would remind you of a merry-go-round) and fresh vibrant colours from yellow, green to blue.

    However, the character development was weak, and the audience never really got a sense of why Young-goon would behave in the way she was (even though her family members are not normal as well.) Despite being a short movie, there were moments of boredom as there was no clear sense of direction on where the movie was heading. Rain's maiden performance could not be said as exceptional, but fans can at least still get to see him shirtless.

    Audience will be divided into two camps: You either appreciate this zany and hilarious movie or hate it to pieces for being nonsensical and lame.

    http://themovieclub.blogspot.com
  • I see so many tedious, over-hyped films, I so often can barely drag myself through some well-received, critically acclaimed film, and I just can't understand why a movie as good as this is so obscure. Brilliant from beginning to, well, five minutes before the end, Cyborg is an utterly incredible experience. It shows you the world of a schizophrenic, but it doesn't play those "what is reality" games; there's never a question that the leads are crazy, and no false promises that at the end they will miraculously be cured. Instead, it follows them through their strange dream logic, and shows the insanity of one character melding with the insanity of another to create this bizarre alternate view of reality. The girl is fascinating to watch, managing to be both humorously wacky and touchingly vulnerable. The movie is full of clever ideas, but never falls too in love with its own cleverness, and is reminiscent of Charlie Kaufman's films.

    I want this movie to be far better known than it is. I just happened to see it listed on TV and thought it had a cool title, but it's praises should be heralded far and way. Creative, original, funny and sad, this is a great movie.

    Except for the ending. The ending wasn't horrible, but I wasn't completely clear what was going on, or why the characters were reacting as they were, and the film ended with very much of a whimper. But the movie overall was so terrific that I can live with the final letdown.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    So, Park Chan-wook, creator of the visually and psychologically arresting Vengeance Trilogy, the chilling short Cut and military mystery thriller J.S.A. has adopted a new approach for his latest instalment: the romantic comedy. This is not to say he has gone off his game however. He is still very much on top of it and further cementing his reputation as one of Korea's most original, provocative and sought after film makers. And after making so many films set within the darker corners of the human soul, a little light heartedness is not only welcomed by the man himself, but critics and fans alike.

    Now, some more conservative types may find drawing humour from the mentally ill a little touchy but Park handles it with surprising care and avoids stereotypes. Instead of paranoid delusionists/suicidal depressives/schizophrenics he gives us far more interesting and playful characters. The woman whose night socks give her ability of flight after lights out. The singer who's adamant to get into the Swiss choir after years of practising. And the male lead, Il-Soon, a young man with thieving tendencies due to a fear of shrinking into a dot if he does nothing. But he's no ordinary thief. He steals peoples' manners, peoples' table tennis games, and even manages to make off with an entire Thursday… "Damn he's good", Young-goon admires.

    Albeit an unconventional love it is somewhat more worthy than those of Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy, and can leave the viewer feeling upbeat and moderately happy and secure in contrast to the ultra-provocative catalogue he has behind him. Beautifully acted, and on a par which many Western rom-coms will fall miserably and embarrassingly short of, I'm A Cyborg is inventive, lovely, cute and slightly soppy… But That's OK.

    Read the full review and more at www.wrawreviews.co.uk
  • What a lovely movie !

    First it seems like one of those "trying too hard not to make sense  and to be different" kind of movies but as the movie unfolds everything falls into place creating a beautifully made story functioning on many levels: as a romantic love story, as a psychological study about puberty, as a therapy guide for anorexia or as a film about the meaning of life. There's something for everyone in it. It even is funny and visually beautiful.

    What does one want more?

    After the film I found out that the director was the same who made Oldboy and it somehow made sense because both films have an extreme authenticity and originality.

    It's a film for everyone - almost – only hard boiled realists will have their difficulties with it, probably the same ones that didn't like Amélie.
  • 'I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK' – it sounds like one person saying one thing and then someone else replying with their own opinion. In a sense, that's exactly the narrative for 'Saibogujiman kwenchana', which I can only entrust with the World Wide Web actually means 'I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK'. The film is a romance of sorts but between two people of varying mentalities: one deluded enough to think they're something they're not and the other smart enough to know what they are but treating life as if a child inside an adult's body. In a way, this is apart of the film's overall downfall – the sweet and somewhat humorous look at a budding romance using psychological problems as a backdrop.

    In a sense, you have to admire what the director, Chan-wook Park, has done here and that's if I've read into it correctly. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK seems to be about Korea's ever growing world of technology, modernity and gadgets. Whether it's a statement on a generation's struggle to come to terms with the introduction of all this technology is entirely down to the viewer but for me, the film is a fable about that. In this day and age, everybody of a certain age seems to need mobile phones, pagers, computers with access to messenger services – merely to keep in constant contact with friends in the world. The sorts of people in the mentioned criteria in terms of age are exactly the same as the two primary characters we follow in this film: 24 year old Park Il-sun and 26 year old Cha Young-goon.

    I think the film is a statement more so on the coming to terms with the introduction of all this technology and modernity rather than an out and out study of two people who are suffering from specific psychological studies. Park II-sun is an attention seeker and Cha Young-goon is an anorexic; that much we can figure out for ourselves and that's pretty much how it goes down in terms of establishments. There is a brief back-story to do with Young-goon's grandmother being taken away but I don't think it acts as a dramatic enough catalyst for her eating disorder to begin.

    So rather than include scenes that suggest an in depth study, the film spends most of its time having Young-goon shooting up the hospital asylum they're all staying at as well as throwing in other such dream sequences to do with socks that enable you to fly. As a character, Young is perhaps so unable to come to terms with the post-modern age of gadgets that have wormed their way out of the factories and amongst the people in the Far East, that she deludes herself to be a machine of some sort. In this case, she is an interesting study of the filmic body; a hybrid of woman and machine but through imagination only. This potential fear of technology and inability to fit into a social network of cell phones, gadgets and gizmos to keep in touch with everyone explodes with disorientating and random outbursts of scenes in which she shoots up the asylum and its employees. Briefly, she sheds the weak, anorexic skin and possesses brilliant power alá Robocop or The Terminator. She combats her fears and frustrations by becoming what she fears most: a robot, a machine - a piece of brutal modernity.

    So while the ideas under the surface may well be right on, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK is really just a cute and somewhat pleasant film that passes time rather nicely. The bizarre content of an avant-garde nature is fine in the sense it is dealing with people of a damaged psyche anyway but the film's general rhythm is distorted; we can be going through a phase of long cuts complete with people talking softly to out and out chaos, be it a guns blazing dream sequence or a scene in which someone imagines they are thirty centimetres tall – then there's the scene I mentioned earlier to do with socks that enable you to fly, and yodel.

    The study of young people here is key; this is not One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or that bizarre chain of scenes from Twelve Monkeys in the asylum and the film never reaches the heights of quality of those films. Instead, the Far East's constant updating and introduction of technology in countries steeped in rich history quite literally dating back centuries is the focus. The young people who are congregating in this film are not of that fast paced, technology driven life and yet they still find difficulty in getting on with one another; something that makes Young and Park's relationship all the more rewarding. The film is a love story at the end of the day about one individual who thinks they're a robot but is actually anorexic and someone else who believes they can steal people's souls when really they're probably crying out for attention.

    Park is able to get that attention with Young, and is able to act out 'repairing' her which pays reference to whatever's imaginatively inside her; his belief of being able to 'take' souls is played into being able to 'fix' gears and cogs but it's the fact he believes he has actual access to people's insides that counts here. Given this, they are each other's remedy: Young enables Park to come to terms with human interaction and Park aids Young in her eating disorder; the truly odd thing may be that neither of them ever quite knew it.
  • paul2001sw-129 October 2008
    After her ailing, radish-eating grandmother is hospitalised, a young woman starts believing she is a robot, stops eating, and is admitted to a mental hospital where most of the patients are just as strange as she is. After this beginning, Chan Wook Park's film, 'I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK', only gets weirder. The film certainly does not resemble any conventional drama set in a psychiatric institution, but rather the surreal movies scripted by Charlie Kaufman, with their imaginative distortions of reality. Personally, I found this film just a little too whimsical, if not frankly silly, but it's partially rescued by it's continuous inventiveness: there's always something going on visually, even if it doesn't make sense. I suspect you'd be ill-advised to consider this movie an insight into mainstream Korean humour; you certainly won't see too many other films like it, from west or east.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Having seen Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy and enjoyed them I was keen to see how he would tackle a more light-hearted film. With this he clearly demonstrates that he is not a one trick pony. Here he manages to make a film with plenty of laughs as well as some sadness. It would be too easy for a comedy set in a mental institution to descend into a freak show where we are invited to laugh at the patients condition but he skilfully avoids that.

    We are introduced to the protagonist Cha Young-goon in the opening sequence where she is working in an electronics factory, she hears a voice telling her what to do and cuts open her arm, pushes wires into the wound, tapes them in place then plugs herself in to the mains. She survives this but as there is clearly something wrong she ends up in a mental institution. As she is convinced that she is a cyborg she refuses to eat, instead spending her lunch time holding a battery. She grows to believe that her purpose is to kill the doctors there but her sympathy is preventing her from doing this because of this she forms a friendship with another patient who claims to be a thief who can steal just about anything... if he can steal Thursday surely he can steal her sympathy. As she isn't eating she is getting weaker and her new friend Park Il-sun is determined to persuade her to eat, he does this by giving her a device which he tells her will enable her to eat food.

    The film has many poignant moments as well as several surreal scenes such as those where Young-goon believes she is gunning down the medical staff at the facility. The actors did a good job especially Su-jeong Lim in the lead role who had a strange detached look which was somewhat increased by her blonde eyebrows. With this film Park Chan-wook has clearly demonstrated he can make light hearted films.... I certainly wasn't expecting him to make a film that featured yodelling.
  • Director Park Chan Wook creates a colourful world surrounding some unique characters and as always it is done with beauty and sensitivity only this time without the heavy and dark story lines of his earlier work, ie; the vengeance trilogy. This film is very sweet but funny enough to carry its lighthearted take on a obscure situation. There is a balance between the surreal happenings and the sad moments that bring you back to reality.

    Young Goon(Lim Soo Jung)thinks she's a cyborg and is trying to find her purpose in life. Her childhood misfortunes - watching her grandmother being taken away by doctors and her mother being a bit secretly deranged - have lead to this desire to find her correct path, or in her terms; what she was built for.

    When she gets shut a way in a hospital, under the instructions of her mother to keep her cyborg-nature a secret, she finds herself unintentionally befriending fellow patient Il Soon (Rain) and as he finds out about her secret worries he tries to help her come to terms with it all.

    it is a love story but from the outset not a straight forward one. The actors are wonderful and it is shot with grace and warmth. Just what you would want from a film of this genre; pretty, moving, and a bit bizarre.
  • "I'm a Cyborg But That's OK" is a touching and romantic comedy movie about the sense of life. The movie is set in a mental institution and introduces us to a lot unique characters: a shy man who is always excusing himself, a man who believes his wife is made of fur, a fat woman who thinks she can fly, a strange couple that sings along to traditional Swiss songs by yodelling and so on. While all these characters seem to have some fun and even though the doctors and nurses are mostly nice with them, there are also a few sad scenes when they feel disillusioned and scared and seem to realize that their lives aren't completely normal. The film should have been a little bit longer and shown us a little bit more details about the fate of these characters in my opinion and even several movies or a television series could have been inspired by this film.

    Let's focus on the main story though. It's basically the story of Young- Goon, a young and shy woman who refuses to eat and is looking for a sense in her life. She grew up with her schizophrenic grandmother who believed she was a mouse and her parents never really took care of her. One day, her grandmother was forced to go to a mental institution but obviously not the same as Young-Goon's. The schizoid young woman has never seen her grandmother again. She misses her a lot and wants to bring her dentures she forgot at home when she was taken away by the staff of the mental institution. Since then, Young-Goon also desires to avenge her grandmother and kill all staff members of all mental institutions. Young-Goon believes she is a cyborg that needs to be recharged to gain enough power to realize her plans which is dangerous for people around her and especially for herself.

    In the mental institution, she meets Il-Soon who is hospitalized for kleptomania stemming from schizophrenia. The anti-social thief is a very emotional and smart person who immediately falls in love with the mysterious Young-Goon. When she is about to die by refusing to eat, he tries to protect her from herself and the staff. When he learns that she believes she is a cyborg, he develops a plan to make her eat by developing a fictional machine that converts food into electrical energy. But the young man soon has to develop further plans to protect the love of her life when she starts to believe that she is in fact a nuke bomb that requires a bolt of lightning to detonate and bring the end to the world.

    While the story lacks direction and feels fluffy at times, this fact isn't important as the movie is about something completely different. It wants to show us that even people in a mental hospital can be very and sometimes even more human than normal people and feel sorrow, love and hate very intensively. The way the two outsiders of the group come closer to each other is far beyond physical love. Her love story begins very slowly and at the beginning, the young woman doesn't really care about or even realize what the young man feels for her. He slowly wins her heart by each step he takes and by doing so he doesn't only heal himself in a certain way and becomes more open-minded, responsible and social than ever before but he also saves the life of the woman he desires and gives a new sense to her sad life.

    This movie is really touching and convinces with a strong and credible acting. The movie though doesn't only focus on the drama elements or the romantic story with profound dialogues but it also includes several moments of intelligent humour and a few action filled over-the-top scenes that break with the slow pace of the movie and feel very original and refreshing.

    The movie surely has some lengths and I think the film should have spend some more time on the supporting characters instead of the main story that only truly develops in the last third of the movie. On the other side, this movie is very intelligent from an emotional and human point of view and has a beautiful philosophy telling us that each day of our life is unique and that something very positive could happen any day that gives your life a new sense or unknown joys. This is a movie that any really sad or suicidal person should watch because it says more than a thousand words could do. Director Park Chan-Wook who is known for completely different movies like "Oldboy" created a truly courageous and unexpected gem that may one day be hailed as a classic. It's not a movie for anybody. At first try, I didn't adore the movie but I didn't stop thinking about and rediscovering it to get access to its pure and unique beauty. Patient and open-minded viewers should get rewarded by watching this film. Those who are looking for quick entertainment, a classic love story or a hilarious movie should change their minds before watching this.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I think one of the easiest ways to make a movie, would be to make one about mad people in a mental institution. Anything and everything can happen, you don't have to explain every minute detail, and the bottomline is, you can interpret it in whatever way you want. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK runs along similar lines, having its two lead characters patients of a psychiatric ward, but therein lies some structure of a story about love, reaching out, and in making sense of life (not to mention the movie as well).

    Directed by Park Chan-wook who gave us his famous Vengeance trilogy (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), it's a very big leap from that trilogy, into something more fantastical, light hearted, bright, and may I say, at times nonsensical as well. But there were some lapses into teasing audiences familiar with his more violent trilogy, incorporating signature scenes which were a blast as I thought they were inserted at appropriate moments when you just want to lash out at everything else happening in the story.

    The introductory scene reminded me of Wisit Sasanatieng's Citizen Dog (in fact, the general look and feel of the presentation resembled it, minus the voice over narration), where we see Young-goon (an extremely appropriate subtitled name, played by Im Soo-jung) degenerate into madness and gets herself warded into an asylum. She starts to think of herself as a cyborg, and develops special affection with florescent lamps and vending machines, while refusing to eat, as it will mess with her internal machinery. And we meet Il-soon (Rain), who develops feelings for her, and embarks on a quest to convince and get her to eat, while sharing with her tender moments as they make sense of their worlds within the confines of an institution.

    The big draw to the movie for local audiences will no doubt be Rain. In his debut feature film, fans will no doubt be flocking to the cinemas to catch their latest idol in action, with the only snag that those below 16 cannot gain admission (rated NC-16). Female fans will be thrilled that he sings a little in the movie, and yes, bares that famous chest of his. We're talking about the man who has held a concert here with the highest ticket prices (the most expensive being S$888), though the preview I was in, was surprisingly, less than 20 persons in attendance.

    For starters, I do not know of his appeal, nor do I listen to his music, but I thought he performed reasonably as Il Soon, a thieving man who believes he can absorb the abilities of others, and does so to comedic effect. Actually, what turned out appealing to me, was centered onto the background madcap people, the supporting cast playing all sorts of crazy characters. Some with dialogue, others just preoccupied in their own little worlds, doing their own little repetitive actions, most of which just draws out chuckles.

    It's a love story within plenty of fantastical sequences. Just don't try to make sense of things that don't seem to make sense, and you'll be able to breeze it. And on that note, I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK may not be everyone's cup of tea, in the traditional romantic comedy sense.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ...But still not as great as JSA. I applaud Chan Wook Park for daring to go in a completely new direction.

    I had heard of Rain but Now I see what people are talking about, great great singer and apparently he can act pretty well too.

    My only beef with this movie is that I expected to be blown away and instead I was only moved.

    As for the ending, I'm not sure if there is some hidden symbolism there? If so, I don't get it. Someone needs to point it out for me. In JSA everything was so clear, but Lady vengeance was very cryptic and I'm not sure if this one is too, or if there's no more to it than initially meets the eye. All in all, I'd say it's still one of the better movies I've seen for a while.
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