Stuck on a Deserted Island in The Middle of a City With Only Garbage to Help Him Survive
Welcome back to Movie Recaps. Today I will show you a comedy, drama film from 2009, titled Castaway on the Moon. Spoilers ahead! Watch out and take care. In the city of Seoul, Kim Seong-Geun is having a bad time. He has lost his job, his girlfriend broke up with him, and he’s drowning in debt, so he decides to jump into the river. However, instead of dying, he ends up washing ashore on a coast near the city. Seeing as drowning didn’t work, he thinks it’ll be more effective to jump off the famous 63 Building, but when he tries to go back to the city, he realizes he’s on an island with no way out. His cellphone isn’t working, so he leaves it under the sun to dry and then goes to sleep, covering himself with some old newspapers. In the morning, he’s woken up by the sound of a ferry passing by, so Seong-Geun tries to get their attention, but the only passenger that notices him thinks he’s merely waving to say hi. After writing “help” on the sand, he tries his phone again and discovers it’s working again, but it barely has any battery left, so he needs to be careful. His first call is to 911, who think he’s pranking them when he says he’s on an island near the bridge so they hang up on him. Next, he calls his ex-girlfriend, who reminds him she doesn’t want to talk to him and hangs up as well. Before he can make another call, he receives one from a telemarketer, who won’t listen to his request for help and keeps on trying to sell him something until the phone battery finally dies. Now his only option is to swim across the river, not an easy task when the water is freezing. Seong-Geun tries anyway and soon proves to be a big mistake: he’s never learned to swim properly. As he drowns, his mind goes through all the depressing moments of his life: his father being disappointed that he can’t swim instead of teaching him, various failed job interviews, his girlfriend breaking up with him, and the catchy advertisement that got him to ask for a loan. As he returns to the shore, these memories make him realize there’s no point in going back because he doesn’t have a life to return to in the first place, so he tries to end things by hanging his tie from a tree. When he’s about to do it, he hears the alarm from the Civil Defense running the biannual drills, thinks maybe he should do this after they’re done, and after struggling against the tie for a few seconds, he leaves it behind when his body reminds him he needs to relieve himself. He goes deeper in the woods to take a dump and while he’s squatting there, he finds some salvia flowers, from which he takes some petals to suck their salvia off. They’re so sweet that it makes him cry, and he decides he won’t end things soon. After drinking water from the river, which doesn’t taste good, he eats some mushrooms and tries to starts a fire by just using some sticks, but it doesn’t work, so he uses a lighter he had with him. When night falls, he’s keeping himself warm with a decent fire and looking at his old life through the credit cards in his wallet. Then, he begins yelling at the city, realizing nobody can hear or see him, so he pulls down his pants and shakes his hips as he tells the world he has a much simpler life here on the island. The next morning, he begins walking around the island to pick up all the useful trash he can find. After getting a bottle of laundry detergent, he finds a duck-shaped boat that he drags back to the place where he’s settling down and fills it with straw, making it a comfortable and safe place to sleep in. The next step is finding something to eat besides the mushrooms, which proves to be more difficult than it sounds. Birds fly away from him and his traps, he isn’t fast enough to catch fish with the tools he builds, and he isn’t capable of climbing a tree all the way up to steal some eggs. It’s during one of these failed climbing attempts that a bird relieves itself on his head, so he goes to wash his hair in the river with the detergent he found. This detergent is now polluting the water and kills some fish, which Seong-Geun roasts over the fire and has for dinner. He also leaves the leftovers in a pot during the night, and when he wakes up, he finds the birds that tried to eat the fish dead too, so he eats them as well. Then he spends the day laying down on the grass and enjoying the perfect boredom. Meanwhile, in the city, Kim Jung-Yeon, a young woman with a nasty scar on her forehead, lives a hikikomori life. She hasn’t left her room in three years and every corner is filled with trash. There’s a lock on the door so nobody can enter it, and curtains are closed so little light makes its way inside as well. Jung-Yeon survives thanks to her parents leaving food for her outside the door every day and paying for the internet bill, which is extremely important because she’s addicted to the social network Cyworld. There, she posts images she downloads from the internet and lies saying they’re things happening in her actual life just to get actual replies. Talking to strangers on the internet is easy, but she doesn’t say a word to her parents: whenever her mom asks her if she needs anything, Jung-Yeon responds by texting her. And from the generous breakfast her mom has left her, she only takes the rice and seaweed because she’s very careful about the number of calories she eats. This may be her room but she still keeps strict rules here: she sleeps on a pile of bubblewrap she keeps in the closet, wakes up at 8 am after her dad leaves, eats 172 calories for breakfast, puts three thousand steps on the pedometer before 9 am, posts on social media, waits until twelve when her mom leaves to go to the bathroom, has 525 calories for lunch, puts on six thousand steps to digest, gets some fresh air from a fan, then spends more time on the computer until night falls and she can enjoy her hobby: taking pictures of the Moon. She likes the Moon because it’s empty, and you can’t feel lonely if there’s nobody else. To finish the day, she reaches ten thousand steps on the pedometer, not because of health reasons, but because it makes her feel she’s had a productive day. Then she goes to sleep by using a hypnotism tape at 9 am when her dad comes back. The exception to this routine comes twice a year when the Civil Defense runs their drills. The city is as empty as the moon then, so Jung-Yeon puts on her helmet and takes pictures during the day for a change. This time however, she discovers something very shocking with her camera: the word “help” written on the sand of the island and a man about to end things with a tie on a tree. This makes her freak out, so she goes to her closet to try to sleep, but not even hypnosis helps. Some hours later, she can’t help checking on him and is relieved to see he’s alive, but after such a discovery, her internet life bores the heck out of her. Instead, she begins making watching Seong-Geun her new hobby, noticing how one day the word “help” is changed to “hello”. She takes a picture of it and prints it, putting it on the wall with her pictures of the moon. Back on the island, Seong-Geun has used some trash and sticks to make a golf set and keep himself busy. This time, when a ferry passes by, instead of asking for help, he hides so they can’t see him. While hiding, he comes across a bag of instant black bean noodles which, by some miracle, still has the flavor package inside. He takes it back with him to his bed and after smelling the aromas from the bag, he falls asleep and dreams of black bean noodles, so when he wakes up, he decides to try to make his own. He grinds various plants he finds hoping they can make a good replacement for wheat, but it’s pointless: the moment he adds water to them, they become mud. While having fish later, he cries as he thinks back on all the times he turned down black bean noodles like an idiot. While trying to sleep, he keeps getting distracted by the sound of birds relieving themselves on the boat roof, and that’s when he has a revelation: bird dump could be the answer to all his problems. Birds eat seeds, and if they can’t digest those seeds, he may be able to plant them. Seong-Geun finds decent soil by checking out where worms are living and starts working the ground to plant all the poop he’s scraped off the boat with his credit card. He builts some protection for his feet using empty bottles, saves his own dump to use as manure, uses a rock to plow the land, and his own clothes to make a scarecrow, leaving his wallet inside the pocket of the jacket because he doesn’t need it anymore. The hard work makes him sweat, and when he realizes how salty it is, Seong-Geun begins licking his entire body, happy to taste salt again after so long. One of the words on the noodle package can be shortened to “hope”, which is a good way to describe what all this gardening means to him. All this is seen by Jung-Yeon through her camera, who has been watching him for two months now and has printed a bunch of pictures of him and hung them on the wall. She decides she wants to get in contact with this man, so one night, after her parents went to bed, she dresses up, puts on a helmet, and leaves the apartment. She distracts the guard at the door by sending a robot down through the elevator while she takes the stairs, and whenever someone could possibly see her on the streets, she would hide behind her umbrella. When she makes it to the bridge, she puts the message she’s printed for him in a bottle and throws it into the river. The next morning, she checks the message on the sand, but she’s disappointed to see it hasn’t changed. Three months pass, and Seong-Geun has become used to living in the wild. He exercises every morning, checks his now-working fish traps, and easily climbs trees to steal some eggs. He continues taking care of his garden, and every time he sweats, he catches the drops with a little bottle that he uses later to season his food. One morning, he discovers his hard work has been successful: sprouts have appeared in his garden. This puts him in a good mood to go looking for trash, and that’s when he finally finds the bottle with the message in it. When he begins unrolling the sheet of paper, at first he thinks it is empty, but he finally reaches the end, he sees one word: hello. Now he knows someone is watching him, Seong-Geun puts back his pants and after lots of thought, he decides to write a new message on the sand: how are you. This delights Jung-Yeon, who prints a picture of him with the message, and later that night, she does all the sneaking around again to send him a new bottle. Seong-Geun finds the bottle quicker this time, and the message is simple, it says “fine, thank you, and you?”. He responds by writing “fine, thank you” on the sand, and later tells the scarecrow that he has a pen-pal now. The scarecrow has a surprise for him in return: there’s corn growing behind him, which makes him cry in happiness. One afternoon, Jung-Yeon decides to surprise him by paying a delivery boy to rent a boat and take some food to the island. Seong-Geun is shocked to see the plates of black bean noodles, but he turns them down and tells the boy to give Jung-Yeon a message: he can’t accept these because to him, a bowl of black bean noodles is hope. She ends up eating the dishes herself and accepts the idea that they do taste like hope. The next morning, she opens her door and surprises her mother by speaking directly to her, asking her to get her pots and seeds because she wants to grow corn. Next, she sends a note to Seong-Geun saying she’s sorry, to which he replies by drawing some waves and a shark on the sand and acting a bit for her. More days pass and once his garden has finally given enough vegetables, he gets ready to make his precious wish come true. He grinds the corn into flour, which he then mixes with water to make the noodles. Once they’re done, he pours the flavor powder he found months ago and adds some extra vegetables plus an egg until it looks just like the package. Then he begins eating it, crying over how delicious it tastes. Jung-Yeon takes a picture of him eating and hangs it on the wall, but afterward, she can’t sleep. So she comes out of the closet and puts a pillow next to the plants she’s been growing, finally falling asleep there. The next letter she sends Seong-Geun says “congratulations”, and now he has an urgent need to meet her, so he grabs his dead cellphone and pretends to talk to her before going to the beach and writing a new message on the sand: “who are you”. Jung-Yeon panics when she sees it and decides to print the picture of a random pretty woman from the internet, but later when she makes it to the bridge, she can’t bring herself to send it. Since then, she doesn’t send any more messages, which saddens Seong-Geun. He writes “why?” on the sand, but this only makes Jung-Yeon panic more. She decides to stop watching him and go back to her old life on social media, but when she logs in, she discovers people have found out her pictures are stolen and are leaving lots of hate comments. Later that night, a storm arrives in Seoul. Jung-Yeon watches from the closet how wind and water enter through her window and destroy her photos and her plants. Seong-Geun is having similar problems on his island: the rain destroys his garden, and the flood takes away his duck boat. The next morning is a sunny one, and when Jung-Yeon checks on Seong-Geun, she finds him writing the f-word on the sand. He’s angry at the world because he isn’t allowed to even keep this, which isn’t much. Suddenly, two men appear at the island and tell Seong-Geun that he can’t be there. He begins running away, and Jung-Yeon watches through her camera how the two men chase him to the shore where boats have arrived with even more men. It’s a cleaning crew that has come to clean the island after the storm because this is a conservation area, close to the public. Seong-Geun tries to fight the whole crew at the same time, but when he accidentally breaks a man’s uniform, he is hit and falls to the ground, surrendering. The men put back his clothes on him and take him back to the city, leaving him in a random street like a hobo. Seong-Geun then decides to go back to his original plan and jump off 63 Building, for which he will have to take the bus. Jung-Yeon has been watching all this through her camera and in a moment of unexpected bravery, she suddenly leaves the apartment in the middle of the day without her special clothes or her helmet to find Seong-Geun. When she arrives at the spot the men left him at, he’s already gone, but following the chatting of random people who comment on a strange hobo in the area, she makes it to the bus stop. Sadly, she’s too late: Seong-Geun has already boarded the bus, and thanks to having put his wallet in the pocket of his jacket, he still has access to his bus card, which still works. For a moment, Jung-Yeon thinks she’s lost the chance to meet him forever, but then, her salvation comes: the Civil Defense begins ringing their alarm to start a new drill, which causes the bus to park for a while. Jung-Yeon wastes no time and goes after it, entering without hesitation and approaching Seong-Geun to introduce herself. He immediately realizes who she is and they both smile at each other as they cry and the bus takes off again. The shaking makes Jung-Yeon trip and her hand ends up on Seong-Geun’s, making it look as if they were shaking hands.