Castaway on the Moon ★★★★★

"It's not for health reasons.
After putting on 10.000 steps,
I feel like I had a good, busy day.
It's an all-too-healthy way of escapism."

So writer/director Lee Hae-Jun knows what made me buy that rowing machine last year - splendid..
Starring Jeong JaeYeong as the male Kim and Jung Ryeo-Won as the female Kim, Castaway on the Moon opens with male Kim trying to commit suicide via jumping from the infamous Mapo Bridge in Seoul to his death in the Han River. Recently being dumped by his girlfriend and hopelessly lost in debt he sees no other way but.. survives and wakes up stranded on a small desolate island right in the middle of the (quite big) Han River. He never learned how to swim, is out of hearing distance of every other human being and after trying to commit suicide again on the island he finally starts to adjust to his new situation.
The female Kim, probably an even more likeable and fascinating character, is an introverted loner who spends her days in her room, trying to live a different life online and only watches the outside world through the telescope objective of her camera. She discovers male Kim on the island and you should see where that premise goes for yourself.

Castaway on the Moon is a fantastic South Korean film. It's hard to put into a genre, but it's a drama as much as it's a comedy, it's melancholic as much as it's a romance, it has wonderful, natural and relatable characters and comments on our modern society, isolation, loneliness and the way that communication changed through technology yet, despite being a tale of survival too it's also a lighthearted and thoroughly enjoyable film about regaining your spirit.
And that is the most important thing. Castaway on the Moon is a delight of a film, it has a beating heart and a gentle soul and all the substance that is definitely there never interferes with it's ability to take you by the hand and make for two of the most charming and lovely hours you'll ever spent with a movie.

As one might expect from a South Korean film the cinematography and score are top notch. The camerawork together with some small and subtle special effects, but mainly just great production design and the delightful score create an often dreamlike and beautiful atmosphere while the story never stops feeling grounded in reality, thus making the viewer care for and like the characters even more. The unique, surprisingly touching and often fantastic visual touches in Castaway on the Moon are always integrated in a gentle way that serves the story. The result are a lot of really superb shots and scenes with an immense visual power that never strive for being grandiose and huge but are all about the characters and their emotions. It's the antithesis of money shots.

You don't think after gushing about a film like this I'm not gonna recommend it, are you?
It's a wonderful, wonderful film that will make you happy if you're about to discover it now, as much as it will everyone who rewatches it. A real gem from South Korea, this one is mandatory.

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