I'm a Cyborg (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 1 2008With its pastel tones, clinical mise-en-scène, a lush, Danny Elfman-style soundtrack and some wild, expressionist characterisations, this could be the sort of film Tim Burton might have made if he had started working out east. Billed by writer-director Park Chan-wook (‘Oldboy’) as something a little lighter after the baroque histrionics of his previous vengeance trilogy, ‘I’m A Cyborg’ is a knowing stab at featherlight whimsy and as intelligent and ornate a piece of work as we might expect from this gifted helmer.
Young-goon (Lim Soo-jung) is a production-line drone who spends her days assembling transistor radios. As the repetitiveness of her work sets in, she starts to believe she is a cyborg, so slices her wrists, then plugs herself into the mains. She is duly packed off to a psychiatric hospital where she courts the attention of Il-soon (Jun Ji-hoon), a young chap who wears a rabbit mask and believes he can assume other people’s identities.
As Park’s ever-agile camera glides majestically though the corridors of this vibrantly-coloured ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’, the pair try to assist each other through testing times in a film which, though lacking an overall narrative sweep, delivers moments of humour, tenderness and eccentric beauty. And yet, nestled beneath the directorial flights-of-fancy (a dream sequence where Young-goon opens fire on the nurses is a deadpan classic) is a touching fable about the fallibility of the human ‘machine’, how little it takes for it to break down, and the cost of getting it fixed up again. After a rousing, melodramatic finale, a superfluous 15-minute coda almost spoils the show.
Author: David Jenkins