Sunday, September 27, 2009


Okay, again I was 'forced' by my brother to watch this one because it starred his favourite Korean actress, Jung Rye Won.

So, I'm not supposed to judge the movie because of the actress. I'm supposed to watch it with an open heart. But actually I watched it because of Jung Rye Won. I want to see what is so special about her. Surprisingly, she's not really that special ;P haha.

But surprisingly, I like this movie. I find it really meaningful in fact.

Korean movies are actually pretty good. When we say Korean dramas, our minds drift to the soft melodies of Winter Sonata, 2 lame lovers in the middle of snow, hugging each other, crying etc etc. That's the stereotype. But when it comes to movies, I find that Korean directors are very creative in terms of movie-making and in movie themes.

Previously, my friend recommended everyone an award-winning film "Old Boy". I think the theme of the movie is very interesting, the storyline brilliant and I'm impressed with the director's creativity with the movie. The cinematography is also BRILLIANT. Personally, I'm disgusted with the theme in "Old Boy" but I can't help but applaud the director's work because really, although I was feeling weird about the theme, I genuinely think it is creative and original and different and that is the kind of movie I love.

Old Boy
An interesting watch but could be too violent & inappropriate for some

"Castaway on the Moon" doesn't share the same brilliant/clever storyline but I love how the director conveys the message of the movie.

MALE KIM saying: "Anyeong Haseyo"

The story is simple. A man decided to commit suicide by jumping down the Han River. He has given up on life - he's in debt, he's lost his girlfriend...basically, everything is wrong with his life.

I love the opening.
We hear a man on the phone stating that the lead actor had borrowed a few thousand dollars; and then after adding the interest, the amount of money owed is hundreds of thousand.

After stating that the operator goes: "Sir, are you clear?"
Lead actor: "Yes. You've made me all the more clear now."; 'clear' as in his decision to jump but not the amount of the debt.

But he survived and landed himself on this island, in the middle of the city...yes, AN ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. So the first lesson in the movie, if you really plan to kill yourself, don't jump from that particular bridge in Korea, or you might end up in that island as a castaway.

On the other hand, we have the girl. Her life revolves ONLY around her room. She doesn't go out because of the scar on her face. She does everything according to a strange routine - like, hypnotizing herself to sleep, waking up only to 'work' in front of the computer (she has a fake webpage where she becomes someone else), she gets fresh air from the fan, stuff like that. And her interest? Taking pictures of the moon. She likes to be being on the moon, with zero-gravity.

The movie is about how these unconventional two individuals meet. Male Kim was stranded on the island without anyone knowing EXCEPT the Female Kim (yes, both leads are somehow by the name of Kim). The Female Kim, who constantly LOCKS HERSELF IN HER ROOM (somewhat like my bro) and has never stepped out of it & interact with people for 3 years has been using her telescope to take photographs of the moon...until one day, she say Male Kim, whom she thought is an Alien. Now, people, I'd like to draw your attention here to the disadvantage of facing ONLY 4 Walls instead of getting some sunlight and communication with REAL HUMANS. Your brains will somehow malfunction and you'll misunderstand real human beings as Aliens, like our MISS KIM there who has problems differentiating what is human and what is alien. Back to the movie then. So our MISS KIM there wants to communicate with the alien. And the story goes...

Jung Rye Won as FEMALE KIM What's so hot about this? Nah, she's ok looking. Just scary here.

FEMALE KIM'S WAY OF LIFE (which I'd die living in)

3 years in a room, 3 years worth of rubbish

Exercise by walking on the spot?

This is her idea of "getting some fresh air"

A few meaningful themes:

1. When we are living like we're dying, we are happier.

The lead character, Kim, at first when landed on the island feel frustrated. He tried to find his way out of the island, but then decides, HECK, I'll just build my life here since I have nothing to lose anyway. He doesn't mind eating the wild mushrooms since if he die, he wants to die anyway. So, when we don't care about dying or anything in life, we are problem free and happy.
Very applicable in life, don't you think? Sometimes we overburden ourselves in life because we overthink things. If we just let go, and not worry about consequences we are definitely going to less stressed up and a whole lot cheerier.

Free water

Free mushroom Good life, isn't it?

2. Simplicity is happiness

Kim grew to love his life they on the island - the simple life - where he grew his own crops, builds his own 'nest', hunt his own food...
Sometimes having NOTHING means HAVING EVERYTHING.
The ending was touching. Kim cried, begging for people to not cast him out from the island. The island is his everything. We might think he's an idiot...only trees and the sands. What has he got there? EVERYTHING! Ironically, he has NOTHING in the city, when to us, we feel that our everything is in the city. Different perspective, different needs.

Also I guess sometimes we think we have everything here in the city. But then, maybe we have nothing at all but we just don't know it. I remember this personal experience. It was during my National Service training and I overhead two of my Malay friends chatting. One was a Shah Alam guy and one a pure Kelantan kampong boy. The Kelantan boy talks about his adventures rafting on the rivers and fishing and playing by the countryside. The Shah Alam boy was listening in awe. I, too, were listening. Then I heard the Kelantan boy say, "Best tinggal kat kampong. Seronok tau berakit..." (It's fun living in the village. It's very fun rafting) Then he went on describing his rafting experience. That's when I turn back and smiled at him. I mean, as a city girl and like my Shah Alam friend, the city boy - we've never get to experience all these minor minor things. And dare we say we have EVERYTHING? No, we definitely do not have the privilege to experience that kind of happiness derived from the simplest things.

3. No one is really useless; you could be an inspiration to someone else and you do not know it

Kim sees himself as useless and a failure and in fact, many other people would perceive him that way too. That's probably why he decided to end his own life. But female Kim (yes, the lead actress name is also Kim) sees Male Kim from a different perspective - another side of him that most people don't see, and perhaps, he himself doesn't know off until he was stranded on the island. Female Kim, who is a loner, who doesn't face the world, had changed her attitude towards interaction with people. Because of Male Kim, she forces herself to get out into the world...something that she has not done in many years. She lacks self-esteem and confidence but Male Kim, although technically has no relation WHAT-SO-EVER with Female Kim, has indirectly changed and inspired Female Kim. So you see, sometimes, we might regard ourselves as useless, but there could be somebody out there secretly admiring you without you knowing it.

Female Kim blasting off to 'the moon'.. Her signature outfit when delivering her letters to Male Kim Method of delivery? Throw the bottle containing the message onto the island

Male Kim's way of responding

I truly believe that everyone is here for a reason, though sometimes we doubt our existence. Like sometimes, I still have no idea why I'm here. I guess there are times when we are so down that we just can't see our own values and that's when we have others' to open our eyes.

For me I really think that all my friends are valuables. Everyone of them are inspiration and some of them just do not know their worth to me.

4. Everyone is special and has talents, we just might not know it

The movie also highlights that people have hidden talents and potential that they don't know of and all they have to do is think and work on it, and they will achieve excellence - just like how Male Kim had achieved so much on the island. I mean all this while, he had been stuck in the city and since he has no accomplishments there, he felt useless. The people around him also made him feel useless. Sometimes, when there is so much negativity around you, you tend to think negatively. If everyone tells you how you suck all the time, you tend to believe that too.

But being on the island made Male Kim realize his own abilities - the strength he has to keep fighting to stay alive, because of 'desire' he think about stuff, he got creative. Through perseverance he built his home, a shelter and he grew his own crops and made his own Black Bean Noodles. He made noodles from the corn flour he made himself. Ain't that cool?

"The duck 'nestles' me..."
The duck became Male Kim's sanctuary, his shelter - his home.

At the climax, during the storm, he fought hard to keep the duck, a metaphor for the island, his home.

He then lost grip of the 'home'. This scene of the duck indicates that he is going to lose his home soon. And sure enough, he was found and was forced to evacuate the island. There was also a scene in the movie Closing up the duck's face before Male Kim had lost his hold on the duck. It's like the duck is telling him that everything will be alright. You do not need me anymore. The duck is like the mother who now feel is time to let the duckling go out there and be independent.

The most most touching part of the movie that moved me to tears was the scene wear Male Kim eats his own HAND-MADE Black Bean noodles. The director takes his time when focusing on the scene - showing the emotions of Male Kim for a quite some time just to stir that particular emotion into us. If one had felt the happiness of accomplishing something that makes you, yourself proud, you'd know exactly how great that feeling is, and how that feeling of pride and happiness could actually water your eyes. For me, I won't cry if I'm happy haha...but I'm touched when I see people achieve something after their hard work. I felt that way about Male Kim, and during my lecturer's last speech to us in UK, talking about how everyone has accomplish a lot in the 3 months and that we should all be proud of ourselves, I was also teary.


Step 1:
Talk to your duck for inspiration

Step 2:
Scrap bird poo off your duck (to get seeds)

Step 3:
Do your planting

Step 4: Savour your meal

The most touching scene in the movie. Excellent emotional delivery by the actor. Well at least he made me cry for a few seconds.

Some of the director's techniques of presenting the story is also interesting. For example, the flashback of Male Kim's life was done in this swimming pool scene. The scene shows Male Kim drowning in the sea, then we see Male Kim's head, he's grappling in the middle of the swimming pool, being criticized by his father who is by the pool side. Then Male Kim sunk in the waters again, then he manage to put his head up, grappling in the swimming pool again. This time, his girlfriend is by the pool, again short-changing him. This parts highlights his past life, the reason why he wants to kill himself in the first place and maybe this part highlights how the waters will wash away the past.

Interesting way of introducing a flashback. First showing how he is drowning, then we see a pool, with his father criticizing him for not knowing how to swim. Then show his career failure, where he was interviewed by a few executives. Then we see in the picture, his ex-girlfriend (standing in front of a few Hawaiian girls) telling him off.
All these were his past-stories.

The way the characters were brought together is also very interesting. I mean, okay, maybe it is a bit ridiculous for such thing to happen, but hell, this world is full of crap anyway right?

Overall, really not a bad movie. I really kind of like the lead actor. He's really hilarious and comical. At first he looks so old and weird but later...really, I think he is fit for the role.

Jeong Jae-Yeong as MALE KIM Real funny dude in the movie

Really not a bad movie.

TC-My Rating:



  1. i saw this movie recently, and i kinda watched it because of jung ryeo won... hehe... but i did like the story.. especially the morals it tried to direct to us... but i still think that there will be a lot of people who won't appreciate the art that is portrayed by this film...

  2. Ya I agree. Not many will get the style of most good Korean movies. I don't really like the love Korean dramas (except a few that due to guilty pleasures) but some of their movies are excellent....:)


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"I love movies for its subjectivity. A movie is debatable. A single scene can mean a million things and the fun part is talking about them."