out of Five
Running time: 105
Chan-wook Park follows his acclaimed Vengeance trilogy with this offbeat, charming love story – it may be a little incomprehensible at times but it's beautifully acted, superbly directed and surprisingly moving.
What's it all about?
Soo-jung Lim stars as Young-goon, a young woman who believes she's a cyborg and winds up in a mental hospital after trying to plug herself into the mains. The hospital is packed full of equally bonkers patients so no one notices when she ignores her food (which is quickly eaten by a food-obsessed fellow inmate) in favour of a battery-only diet.
However, when Young-goon meets shy inmate Il-soon (Ji-hoon Jang), he's instantly smitten and sets out to find a way to help her eat normal food before she starves to death. However, time is running out.
Soo-jung Lim and Ji-hoon Jang are terrific as the two leads and they have a surprisingly sweet chemistry together that works well. The supporting cast are equally good, creating a cast of memorably weird characters that make up the asylum's odd little world.
Chan-wook Park's direction is intriguing – he constantly changes both the pace and the tone of the film (from quirky romance to black comedy to violent thriller to tragedy and back again) while never losing our interest. It's also extremely moving and surprisingly tense in places, especially towards the end.
At times, the film is oddly reminiscent of the work of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, Delicatessen), largely thanks to a delightfully offbeat score by Yeong-wook Jo that even includes a yodelling song. In addition, the production design is superb, with brightly coloured sets and some impressive special effects, particularly when Young-goon goes on a mechanical rampage against the white ones (the hospital staff) holding her prisoner.
In short, I’m a Cyborg is a delightfully quirky sci-fi rom-com that's surely destined for cult status. Worth seeking out.
I'm A Cyborg (Saibogujiman Kwenchana) (15)