Young-goon (Soo-jeong), a young woman working in a factory assembly line, oddly thinks she is a cyborg. After consciously slitting her wrist and attaching herself to a power outlet, she is immediately checked into a mental institution for supposedly attempting suicide. While there, she goes on a hungerstrike, refusing to eat, believing that the food would fry her robot circuits. Meanwhile Il-sun (Rain), an anti-social patient and the hospitals resident ‘klepto’, who also believes he can steal other patients mental symptoms, starts to take a curious interest in Young-goon, and eventually tries to help her out.
The film is a romantic-comedy directed by South Korean director Park Chan-wook, who is best known for his previous films “The Vengeance Trilogy” and most recently “Thirst (2010)”. Though criticized as a step back from his work with “Old Boy (2003)” and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)”, the film was praised for its art direction and won the Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Actress Lim Soo-jeong and South Korean recording artist Rain, both put in clever performances in this piece. Rain in his acting debut, received a nod and won the award for Best New Actor at the Baeksang Awards for film and television for his performance in this film.
Ever since seeing “Old Boy”, I’ve been a Park Chan-wook fan, and have been trying to salvage whatever copy of his works I can find. I stumbled upon a copy of this film and I had my doubts, thinking I was in for a cheesy South Korean romantic comedy, and I was right, but was also surprised at the fun entertainment this film presents. Its a ‘mad-house’ comedy complete with a cast of crazies who initiate all sorts of chaos inside the mental joint. The humor was pretty funny and I found some good laughs here and there. Some of the colors and visuals were a bit of eye-candy and are reminiscent of something you would see in a Michel Gondry film. Somewhere in there, Park Chan-wook orchestrates a stylish cyborg shootout sequence that’s both brutal and bloody, and that was a high for me. The cheesiness is pretty laid-back up until the unavoidable climactic explosion of love, and I guess we just have to deal with it.
This film is probably one of the more underrated Park Chan-wook films. Its a little geared towards the ladies. Definitely different from his other memorable titles. This was not my favorite, but it does offer mad fun and has some visually stylish moments that make it worthwhile.