Movie: Castaway on the Moon

  • Sunday, February 22, 2015

Poster from Wikipedia
Of black bean noodles and hope.

Summary of Castaway on the Moon (2009) (IMDB): After failing to kill himself by jumping off a bridge, the man is washed up on a deserted island in the middle of the river, but within view of the city's high-rises. He attempts to escape, but soon accepts his fate and the challenges in living on the island. A reclusive young woman, who takes close-up shots of the moon and has not left her apartment in years, spies him on the island and comes to think of him as her own alien.

My two cents

Ok ... so ... I know I review books but can you blame me for wanting to share a movie that was so good that I couldn't help myself? Castaway on the Moon is a Korean film that was discovered by my movie-loving uncle.

This opens with a man on the phone, on the edge of a bridge. He speaks to someone on the phone and there's the culprit: life is unbearable because of money problems. He's going to jump. And so he does.

He becomes "castaway" on a tiny island in the middle of the river. Mind you, the entire city is just in view. How silly does this sound? Very, right? He tries calling his fast-dying cellphone people to come help him, and also calling to people on passing boats. But he eventually gives up. In his solitude, he learns to embrace living life away from so-called civilization.

The very basic day-to-day activities confound him on his little island: shelter, food, water, even relieving oneself. One day, he comes across something in the many things washed ashore, something that dashes all desire to stay on the island: an empty packet of black bean noodles ... with the instant powder sauce still in it! He endeavours to make his own noodles. But how in the middle of nowhere? I loved this vignette of early farming! 

Meanwhile, the camera turns on to another lonely soul in the city: a reclusive teenage girl whose life revolves around a tight schedule of visiting with her online friends, eating a certain number of calories, taking a certain number of steps, sleeping in bubble-wrapped closet. This is broken up by taking pictures of the moon. One day, she notices that her camera catches a big HELP written clearly in the sand on the island in the middle of the river.

Both their lives are about to take a turn, when the young girl decides to send a message back to the mysterious HELP-writer.


What I loved about this movie:

This is a modern-day tale that is quirky and bizarre as it is heartfelt. 

First, the characters. What a strange pair these are! They are oddballs in their loneliness and their isolation. I can't help but love how odd they are!

Second, the themes are simple and touching. 

Making a human connection and making friends will tug strongly at your heartstrings. I felt the loneliness of both the characters and waited in anticipation for their meeting. As they got to know each other better, albeit the very strange circumstances of their growing friendship, it made me ponder on what it means to becomes friends with someone, to know when to cheer them on, how to appease them, how to support their aspirations. Opening oneself up to someone else is such an intimate act; can we all be brave enough? Can we dare to hope that we become better people as a result?

The movie is also a satire of sorts which asks us the question: can we eschew the materialism around us and get to the heart of living. Despite the closeness and convenience of "civilization," deciding what one buys into or not is a very personal decision.

Third, this is quite a trip!

This has such a bizarreness to it that I couldn't help chuckling at how silly, how preposterous, and surreal some of the scenes are. There's the huge duck boat that our hero lives in. There's the scene where the simple act of eating black bean noodles will make you want to have some. There's the weird sequence where our heroine carries out her carefully laid out plan - complete with robot decoys and motorcycle helmet, of course - of escaping her abode to deliver her message in a bottle.

Movie-lovers will look at each other in a moment of "aha" as the movie chugs along: the title is a loving reference to the Tom Hanks-starrer Castaway, the moon reference is a loving nod to the popular 1980s flick E.T. And there is even a reference to Sadako of The Ring! be on the lookout for these!

Verdict: I say, watch it! Have the chuckle but ponder on it and you'll get something pretty special out of this!

Have you watched this movie? I'd love to hear what you thought.

If not, does this appeal to you? why would you want to watch it?

More info: IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall