Jung Jae-young stars in CASTAWAY ON THE MOON, directed by Lee Hae-jun for CJ Entertainment.

Castaway on the Moon (2009, Lee Hae-jun)

Castaway on the Moon explores one of those great urban questions… could you ever get stuck on one of those conservation islands in a city’s river? Despite being a South Korean film, it’d be hard to find a more universal story—deeply indebted Jeong Jae-yeong throws himself off a bridge after his girlfriend’s dumped him and he’s been laid off. It doesn’t work out. The currents bring him to a conservation island and there, eventually, he plays Robinson Crusoe.

Maybe the first twenty minutes of the film is Jeong Jae-yeong all by himself, no real dialogue with anyone else. He doesn’t even get to the point where he’s carrying on conversations with inanimate objects. He has to sell the situation and he does. It’s sometimes funny, but—like the rest of the film’s approach to his situation—uncomfortably realistic.

Then Jeong Ryeo-won shows up, sort of out of nowhere. She’s a shut-in—some previous event left her with external burn scars and internal psychoses. When she sees Jeong Jae-yeong on the island, she starts watching him.

The film is only a few times unpredictable. These are somewhat big twists, but the narrative is generally what one would expect. The execution, however, is phenomenal.

Director Lee’s composition is outstanding, as is his direction of his stars. Kim Hong-jip’s music and Kim Byung-seo’s photography are also essential components.

The film’s deceptively traditional. On consideration, it’s actually more innovative than I initially thought. Lee does well.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Written and directed by Lee Hae-Jun; director of photography, Kim Byung-seo; edited by Nam Na-young; music by Kim Hong-jip; production designer, Hwasung Gongjakso; produced by Kim Moo-ryung; released by CJ Entertainment.

Starring Jeong Jae-yeong (Male Kim) and Jeong Ryeo-won (Female Kim).

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