Castaway on the Moon AKA Kim’s Island (2009)
Summary: Kim Seung-Keun (Jung Jae-Young) decides to escape his troubles in the most drastic way possible: jumping to his death in the Han River. By some stroke of luck, he instead washes up on an abandoned island that is close to civilization, but might as well be on the moon. As Kim slowly begins to [...]
Kim Seung-Keun (Jung Jae-Young) decides to escape his troubles in the most drastic way possible: jumping to his death in the Han River. By some stroke of luck, he instead washes up on an abandoned island that is close to civilization, but might as well be on the moon.
As Kim slowly begins to rebuild his life in the wilderness, another lonely soul (Jung Ryu-woon) reaches out to him from across town.
I first saw Castaway on the Moon on a 14-hour flight. Delirious from sleep deprivation and recycled air, I wasn’t sure if the fondness I felt for the film was the result of adorable movie magic or an insidious case of Stockholm’s Syndrome. Upon re-watching it, I can reliably say: adorable movie magic, with a pinch of fairy tale and a dash of angst.
Castaway on the Moon (known as “Mr. Kim’s Island” in its native language) is a modern-day fantasy of escaping the rigors of civilization by following in the footsteps of Robinson Crusoe. The main character needs no explanation: he’s a professional in some industry or other who is besieged by debt, accruing interest, spam, and a lackluster love life. On his island, he finds a measure of peace and learns the satisfaction of hard work and the pleasure of “the perfect boredom.”
Before you think that this movie is all tree houses and impromptu hemp clothing, there’s another piece to the puzzle: Kim Jung-Yeon (Jung Ryu-woon). Kim Jung-Yeon is a kindred spirit who has chosen to shut herself away from the world for the past 3 years. A traumatic past is implied by a scar on her face, but she, too, is an archetype. The audience can definitely relate to her hermitage, where instead of dealing with the travails of her reality, she escapes through a steadfast internet addiction.
The long-distance friendship between Kim Seung-Keun and Kim Jung-Yeon is heartwarming and, while not believable, fits the fairy-tale feel of the film. The overarching theme of hope and perseverance is gently coaxed to life like a springtime sapling. The culmination of this friendship and both characters’ struggles is rewarding and won’t leave audiences wanting more.
If you can suspend your disbelief and let yourself get carried away by quirky, fun dialogue and whimsical characters, then this is the movie for you. Though there are occasional lulls and the movie, from time to time, is a touch too unbelievable, Castaway on the Moon is a pleasant retreat from an unforgiving world.
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Castaway on the Moon AKA Kim’s Island (2009),