After very few minutes I stopped thinking. I stopped thinking about everything. A failed suicide attempt leads a heartbroken man to live a life in the wilderness? When the movie ended I sat in my chair just watching and listening to the credits, waiting for my brain to catch up with everything my eyes and ears had just experienced. Had I just witness a heart-warming romantic comedy with a message? In Castaway on the Moon, the life of young Kim Seong-geun is falling apart: he lost his job when the company went under, his girlfriend left him and the $75,000 loan he took out from so-called “interest-free” Happy & Cash Loans has morphed into a whopping $209,000 because of missed payments. Needless to say, things aren’t going well for him.
I’m going to be honest here and say I can tell you what happens but I can’t tell you what its like to experience this film. There is just something wonderful that happens as you watch this film and see these two misfits find a better part of themselves. Castaway on the Moon is a beautiful film about self-made reality and what is actually real, about our infinite connection to the natural world, and how nothing is ever final even when it seems so. I almost feel like not everyone is worthy of this movie. It has many instances of magical realism and fantasy. The female character is played beautifully by Jung Ryo Won. It isn’t an easy character to play. But, she comes off not as a crazy nut, but as a deeply vulnerable character who goes to the extreme to shelter herself from the strains of the world. I was very convinced of her character and I was impressed with Jung Ryo Won’s acting ability. Little dialogue, good acting, well-shot scenes and cinematography tell a story that I’ve never seen told before in movies although in this day and age of the internet and of human identities formed by consumerism, we might very well have an inkling of what issues and emotions the two main characters are going through.
I have not found any weakness with this movie, no part that I would have done differently, or where I felt that the characters did something just for the sake of the plot. By the time it ended I wanted to watch a sequel to see what happened next in these people’s lives that’s how emotionally invested I became in the characters. I love Korean movies but I find most Korean films seem to have rather dark endings as though fate always leans towards suffering but not so in this movie. This is beautifully written and well acted and one of the best films I’ve seen this year. My only question was why they were communicating to each other in English. Is that how one tries to communicate to the outside world in any country now? That aside, the more and more I praise the film I feel like I am neglecting to showcase the main male character, who is very good, but the female is a revelation.
I know this is a lot of praise for a movie and many will probably question what I have said about this movie but I’m telling you, this is a movie you have to see for yourself. This is a truly wonderful little film, that to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t crazy about for the first hour. Where was this going I wondered? And then it clicked and and I suddenly found great wisdom and many smiles (and a tear or two) in this really one of a kind movie. The movie is meant to be a critical commentary on the modern Korean society. Much of the humor is subtle and requires an intimate understanding of the Korean society to fully understand it. It reminded me a little of Chungking Express, another Asian favorite of mine, as that one is also about social outcasts, weirdos, loneliness and… food. A lot more time and effort was put into the script, and it shows. Highly recommended!