I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Ok
(15) 105 min
Korean director Park Chan-wook burst onto the international film scene with the ferocious Oldboy in 2003. The bleak and violent study of revenge was very publicly championed by Quentin Tarantino. However, after the unrelenting nature of his Vengeance trilogy (which also includes Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Lady Vengeance), here the director changes tack with a unique take on the romantic comedy – set in an insane asylum.
Park creates a lovingly realised world packed with oddities. Cha Young-goon (Lim Soo-jung) is a young girl who thinks she’s a cyborg, and has delusional flashes where she reverts to a mechanised killing machine. Fellow inmate Park Il-soon (played by Korean pop star Rain) falls for her innocent charms, stealing other people’s personality traits to help her as she starves to death due to her insistence on only consuming electricity (she is a cyborg after all).
If you expect the filth and fury of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance films, this may feel a tad lightweight. But I’m a Cyborg . . . is a whimsical film packed with charm and startling imagery which confirms Park as a director of range. There are still moments of violence but it’s all stylised within a world of fantasy; this is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest retold as a children’s fable, borrowing a crisp, bright colour palette and woozy pastel shades from Edward Scissorhands. At its heart it’s a kooky love story told via imaginative set pieces and Park’s characteristic grasp of meticulously constructed images.
Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Mon 28 Apr–Thu 1 May.