February 14, 2009

I'm a Cyborg But That's Okay: A Doorway to the Psych Ward's Padded Cell

For years, critics censured Park Chan-wook for glamorizing violence in his landmark trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance). And while you'll encounter the same high-gloss gunfire in I'm a Cyborg But That's Okay too, Park slyly sidesteps the issue this time by placing every gloriously shot, bloody massacre inside one crazy character's trippy head. She's a mental patient (Lim Su-jeong in a fright wig) who think she's bionic so her little fingers turn into mini-machine-guns whenever she gets too lightheaded from malnourishment and feels compelled to act out a fantasy. Now the question arises: Is an artful staging of a mass murder more or less offensive when it makes you wish it had happened? By the closing credits, I was convinced that this movie would have been better if the delusional damsel was really an android assassin capable of mowing down doctors and orderlies, and that likewise, her fellow inmate (played by the pop star Rain) would be more interesting if he did indeed have the ability to steal people's personality traits or shrink to the size of a dot. Because their whimsical romance never makes that glorious leap to scifi, the electroshocking moments leave us with a clean conscience: We haven't seen anything that will corrupt us.

No comments:

Post a Comment