Very close to being Park's best, in fact, the first 30 minutes or so are nothing short of perfection. A wonderful mix of sweetness and eccentricity, while also being a welcome break from this director's usual business (though, he does sneak his sympathy theme in).
The premise is wonderful, the execution less so. It is quite funny and, in its own strange way, it does deliver in the romance aspect (in fact it is really, really sweet) but at times it is almost too cloying in its strangeness and the mix of styles, tones and content here never gels completely. It feels like a bit of a mess, and at times it is hard to know quite what Park is getting at or intending, but it is a solidly amusing mess and I quite enjoyed it.
Park Chan-Wook repels his conventional themes of revenge, murder and death to create a quirky rom-com set in a mental hospital. Glowing with a rainbow palette and enchanting score, Cyborg is camp, beautiful and bittersweet. Original on so many levels, its one of Chan-Wook most accessible, if not entirely representative, gems.
Quirky has never been so accurate for a film, and while it can get overly quirky, it mostly remains in the realm of happily elicited smiles and hearty chucking. Plus, beyond the quirk, it's sweet, touching, and highly imaginative. Simply a lot of fun.
The extended sequence where Young-Goon imagines (and actually believes) herself to be a combat cyborg annihilating all of the hospital staff is hilarious and wonderfully done, as are a few other sequences, particularly her suicide attempt at the beginning. Like all of Park's works, this is technically outstanding. Thematically, the movie is clumsy and stupid, unfortunately. Not as entertaining as some of his other works.
Nobody gets their achilles' tendon slit, or their teeth forcibly extracted with a claw hammer. My first non-vengeance Park film, and I have to say I was at least a little impressed. Just a beautiful, clever film. Not especially deep, but it's not like every movie has to be a brutal analysis of man's seeming addiction to cruelty, degradation, shame and suffering.
Weird. But in a good way. I think. There are moments where you think Park is overdoing it with the quirkiness, but a minute later he hits you with a sublime moment of bittersweet brilliance (I mean... never in my life did I expect to be moved by the installation of a rice-megatron).
There's nothing that's ever completely straightforward about a Park film, even this absurd comedy (or off-kilter tragedy if you prefer) isn't as simple as it seems at first. A young woman being institutionalized for thinking that she's a cyborg sets the stage for Park's usual quirkiness, but surprisingly enough there are moments that are appropriately heavy, tender, perhaps even somewhat romantic. The main criticism that I have with all of Park's work is that the editing could be tighter.