Young-Goon (Lim Su-Jeoung) is admitted to a mental institution after her unsuccessful suicide attempt. She didn’t intentionally try to kill herself, she was merely slashing her wrists so she could insert power cables into her arm. Young-Goon believes she is a cyborg.
During her stay at the hospital she meets and grows attached to a young man by the name of Il-soon played by the international Korean Pop Star, Rain. Il-soon has a habit of stealing things, and believes he can steal peoples souls. Their relationship takes a turn for the worse as Young-Goon is essentially starving herself to death, for she believes that cyborgs can’t live off of real food. Il-soon has to figure out a way to enable Young-Goon to eat, while still placating her existence as a cyborg.
Though one could compare this film to “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” for it’s portrayal of the mentally ill, tonally, this film is completely different. There is a fair amount of violence in this movie, as it is played out entirely in the minds of the characters, but the movie remains very light. Everything from the production design to the music of the film seems like it belongs somewhere in a preschool. Ultimately, this is a love story at it’s heart.
As always, Chan-Wook Park does his best to play against all types of cinema conventions. The doctors in this institute are not tyrants. They are not some evil entity completely lost in their detachment from their patients. They are trying to help these patients to the best of their ability, but just struggling to do so. The patients aren’t just background characters walking around babbling. Park takes great care in setting up these characters. Through this setup, some of the patients reactions are expected, but make for some of the funnier moments in the film. Through various special-effects heavy sequences, we get to see Young-Goon as a cyborg, as well as some of the other worlds the other patients live in.
While it is one of the most original films I have seen this year, it doesn’t seem to know how to end itself. Park and screenwriter Seo-Gyeong Jeong do well to resolve major issues in the film, but then create new ones within the third act. This makes the entire third act of the film seem really fragmented in it’s storytelling, and then the film just ends.
Chan-Wook Park continues to establish himself as one of the best filmmakers working today. “I’m a Cyborg but That’s Okay” is a highly entertaining film that is worth taking a look at. Even though the end of this film falls a little flat, Park’s skill in the first two acts, surpasses most filmmakers entire films altogether.