On a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a baby. It is agreed that they will get married on her 17th birthday, and she is 16 now. They live a quiet and secluded life, renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. Their life changes when a teenage student comes aboard...
Jae-Young is an amateur prostitute who sleeps with men while her best friend Yeo-Jin "manages" her, fixing dates, taking care of the money and making sure the coast is clear. When Jae-Young... See full summary »
Romances end in blood and the frail hopes of individuals are torn apart in a vile karmic continuity of colonialism, civil war and occupation. After surviving Japanese colonization, Korea ... See full summary »
A young drifter enters strangers' houses - and lives - while owners are away. He spends a night or a day squatting in, repaying their unwitting hospitality by doing laundry or small repairs. His life changes when he runs into a beautiful woman in an affluent mansion who is ready to escape her unhappy, abusive marriage.Written by
Self-possessed, lone mute drifter Tae-suk (Hyun-kyoon Lee) who has a very spiffy new silver motorcycle and comes from God knows where, breaks into houses just to putter around, do laundry, clean up, and fix broken appliances. Some may be reminded of the girl in Wong Kar Wai's "Chungking Express" (Fayae Wong), but this chap isn't shyly romancing, he's just odd, and he enters the houses of complete strangers, shifting from house to house, testing to see who's not at home by leaving pizza ads on doorknobs, then coming back later to see which ones are still there. He never takes anything, but he tries out the homeowners' clothes, riffles through their mementos, and sleeps in their beds. He seems rather effeminate, since his whole thing is housekeeping. Accordingly first the young actor, on whom the whole film depends, seems to be just a little pretty-boy type, but he proves to have exceptional mime and acrobatic skills and a sly, defiant quality that is intriguing. The wordless sequences highlight the film's strong emphasis on photographic images, sound and picture, which are beautiful, chilly, and unique. An Arabic love song, played over and over after he connects with an abandoned and abused wife, is haunting, if a bit cloying after a while. After the young man beats up the abusive husband by pitching golf balls at him (an odd, recurrent theme, as is arty still photography of women), and goes off with the wife, he emerges as more of a man, a kind of pied piper of suburban frustration. He gets out of his depth when they move into a poor flat and discover a corpse, but the romance goes on....to the end... while remaining dreamlike and unreal.
Though the high-concept plot of this very quickly made, low budget film may seem rather pat and the director doesn't quite seem to know where to go with it, he does present a character and a mood that will stick in the mind.
Director Kim Ki-duk may be just a bit too much in love with his own ideas and stylistic tics. Kim Ki-duk's previous film "Spring, summer, Fall, Winter....and Spring," seemed too contrived and fanciful, and the same ultimately is rather true of this, though this time happily we are free of dubious Buddhist overtones.
Though not really violent, "3-Iron" has plot elements that remind one of Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy," and I'm beginning to wonder if there is something wacky about the Korean imagination that I am never going to be tuned in to; but a nice, very thought-provoking ending redeems the wandering last quarter section. I'd rate this higher than Spring, "Summer, Fall..." etc. but not put it in the prize category. Kim has originality and a strong visual sense; his fantasies are ultimately not altogether convincing. Nonetheless the idea of "3-Iron" is distinctive enough to be memorable. It may cause you to muse for some time to come about fantasy lovers and household sprites -- or ponder the moral status of someone who breaks the law only to do good.
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