Friday, December 9, 2011

Castaway On The Moon: Best Movies You Probably Haven't Seen

In this column I've covered a few films from other countries, but I hadn't really crossed the line into a true foreign film. You know, the kind that have those words on the bottom because you have no clue what they're saying otherwise? Now you catch my drift. Today's entry is from South Korea. Let the subtitles roll.

Now Showing:

Castaway on the Moon (2009)
Kimssi pyoryugi (original title)

Written & Directed By: Hae-Jun Lee

(Note: I'm not even going to pretend like I know Korean cinema well enough to tell you what else they've been in)

The Gist:
Castaway on the Moon tells the story of a man whose life is falling apart. His girlfriend has left him, he's in debt and a failure at business. Feeling that there's no way out he decides to kill himself by jumping off a bridge near the city. Instead of drowning though he ends up on a tiny island underneath the bridge. Unable to swim he finds himself stranded on the island. At the same time, a second story unfolds, about a young woman who's afraid to go outside, who discovers the man on the island and watches him through her camera from her apartment.

Why You Should Watch It:
While I won't deny there are some minor gross moments in the film, overall it's one of the sweetest and kookiest movies ever. It's a story of finding hope where there seems like there isn't any. And it's also extremely funny in places. Plus it's supposedly going to be remade here in the states by the same tool that did the Freaky Friday remake. Do yourself a favor and see this beautiful picture before any hint of an American remake can alter your view.

Why You Probably Haven't Seen It:
Do you watch a lot of Korean cinema? If you have, maybe you've seen it. I've watched some but never really connected with a Korean film like I have with this one.

Scene To Savor:
Um, the whole movie? No, that won't work, there are some short spots I don't care for, though generally the disgusting bits setup for more laughs later. I guess I would have to say the golf scene. It's just a great image.

This one really caught me by surprise as I was told one thing about it and was expecting a completely different film than it was. It's hard really to even pin it down in a way as there are so many different facets at play. In addition to the great acting, the humor, the emotion, it's also beautifully shot. It's a film that quietly demands to be seen. If not for those few moments that are, kind of gross (though probably won't bother people who like Bear Grylls nearly as much) I would probably give it a perfect rating. 

Overall on a scale of missed gems: 4.5 out of 5

Netflix: Streaming


  1. I've not seen this one. I've seen The Host (good) and Dragon Wars (awful beyond imagination.)

  2. Boom. Done. In my Netflix queue.

    Thanks for recommending this, and bringing it to light. I probably would have grown old and ugly before I ever found it on my own. Good review, by the way.

    My only experience with Korean cinema is the movie "A Moment To Remember" by John H. Lee. I loved it, even though I had to watch it in ten minute increments on YouTube, because Netflix doesn't list it as a movie that even exists. (Punks!) So, based on that experience, and your track record of recommending good hidden gems (almost exemplary, sir) I'm definitely trying it, hence the "Boom. In my queue." thing.

  3. Thanks for reminding me that I had this one in my download folder. I could use a movie like this today.

  4. I read the title and thought it was a joke (so I guess that means I haven't watched it)

  5. Haven't watched this one...grown up watching foreign movies on national television before cable tv invaded our homes- French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Iranian, Russian (some fab, heart wrenching ones)not forgetting Indian "Art" movies(in a dozen languages)....but can't remember names...I can narrate the plot of some of those movies that are still in my mind, specially focusing on people caught in the cultural and political revolutions of those countries.
    Sounds like a good one to watch.

  6. How do you even find these? :) Just popping by to check in. I may have quit blogging, but I still intend to pop by every now and then.

  7. I feel guilty watching South Korean cinema since there are so many great American movies I haven't seen. The trailer looks cool though so I'll try and check it out.

  8. Here's the trailer link with English subtitles:

  9. And it's on netflix instant queue! Double score. Thanks for the rec good sir!

  10. Watched it on a whim and fell in love.. So completely surprising and unexpected. Watched it again with my son, then the two of us watched it again with my husband. A favorite for everyone. Loved things like the absurdity of Kim's situation, the 12 grams, the elevator robots, the sound of the helmet snapping shut, the lights of the apartment following Kim, and the delivery boy. Super fun. A great family movie night, and as long as your friends are into subtitles (some people read slowly, so they hate subtitled movies, which is too bad because there are some amazing one out there and it's so much better than dubbed films) it's also a great movie night with friends.

    1. Cheryl, I agree, it's a great film to watch with family and friends. I sat my brother down to watch it and he adored it. The mention of the robots and the helmet make me want go and watch it again. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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