I'm a cyborg, but that's OK is about Young-goon (Su-jeong Lim), a young woman who has come to believe that she's a cyborg after her grandmother was sent off to a sanatorium for thinking that she was a mouse. After Young-goon starts hearing voices inside her head and mutilates herself at work, she too, is sent to a sanatorium where she refuses to eat. Young-goon is constantly hallucinating as she receives electro-shock therapy to help her eat, only she believes that she's being 'powered up' as a cyborg, but in reality her body is rapidly deteriorating on her. The stronger she 'thinks' she's getting, is actually the closer to death she is.
Park Il-sun (Rain), the kleptomaniac inexplicably takes pity on her and decides to make it his mission to get her to eat again, voluntarily. In between these two nut jobs are a whole bunch of other nut jobs, one's a delusional singer, one's too apologetic to bear, one believes he's a cop, one's a habitual liar, it's a real smorgasbord of colorful wackos like 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest'. Only I didn't find them particularly likable or fleshed out, they're only there for the 'crazy factor'. I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK is a wonderfully shot movie though, it's visually dazzling and it's technically inventive, the cinematography alone is worthy of high praise and the set designs and production values are all top notch, but the story is where it falls apart.
I'm a Cyborg but that's OK is highly surreal. It's abstract and it's a darkly fantastical movie with a fair amount of quirky and deranged humor to it, it's hard to categorize, but then again, not everything needs to be categorized either. I get that it's about these two profoundly damaged individuals who eventually come together and find solace with each other, but the directing is surprisingly schizophrenic from Chan-wook Park, who's usually a very succinct and coherent director. The tone of I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK jumps around so often that it's hard to follow, let alone make any real sense out of. It starts out as a very solid and intriguing movie, but the narrative becomes so fractured as the movie progresses that it does become a bit of a mess and it can be discombobulating at times. Chances are that if you do watch this then you'll be wondering, what in the fuck was that... Whether that's a good feeling or not to have towards a movie is up to you I suppose.
In one scene that was probably intended to be the most 'emotional' moment of the movie, the big payoff, and I could only feel a sense of boredom and mostly apathy to be honest. It was nice I suppose, but not nearly as impactful as it should have been. The ending is very subtle and Chan-wook Park definitely opts for the less is more approach. If you catch the meaning of the ending, it's a very hopeful and tender one, but I'd hate to imagine what would happen to one of them if something happened to the other because they become so entirely co-dependent on each other.
It's sweet, but a little bit unsettling too. I don't know if my subtitles were off or not, but the dialogue seemed to be very nihilistic towards the end and that was contradicting pretty heavily with what I was seeing. Despite 'I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK' being an aesthetically pleasing movie, it actually reminded me of Tim Burton when he does the 'light, beautiful and dreamlike' atmosphere (Edward Scissorhands, Big Eyes), take from that what you will, but this one just didn't resonate with me. 'I'm a Cyborg, but that's OK' was flawed, but it was also a unique and daring movie though, I'll give it that much. After thinking about the movie for a while afterwards and considering the emotion and reasoning behind the movie, I decided to bump my rating up by a point.
Written by - The Sentry - 28/07/2015