Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)

I hesitate a little to recommend a movie like I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK—but I shouldn't. It is so convinced of the rightness of its tone—tones, actually, from comic to psychotic, sentimental to surreal—and so consistent in its dedication to a kind of giddy expressionism (as the unbalanced inner lives of its characters become the outside of the movie—while that imbalance rights itself and becomes normal) that I surrendered to its excesses and stayed with it all the way.

The director, Chan-wook Park, is no stranger to strangeness.  He's directed a number of extreme movies—including a segment of, fittingly enough, Three ... Extremes (2005)—but is best known for the delirious Oldboy (2003).  The first of his movies I saw was JSA/Joint Security Area (2000; unfortunately, not on Instant Play), a multi-layered examination of friendship and war.  (The Bosnian film No Man's Land released a year later comes close to matching JSA's ability to mix the political with the personal.)

But Back to I'm a Cyborg ....  Like Park's other films, this one manages to make us feel deeply for its damaged, other-worldly characters without neglecting its skewed wit and the pure joy of making unforgettable images.  It can get pretty brutal, but the movie is so vibrant and malleable that I just rode with it.  Like other nuthouse films, it elicits our sympathies—but to feel that sympathy, we must be willing to suspend all kinds of disbelief and allow the movie to do whatever it wants—which it does with a vengeance.

No comments:

Post a Comment