Thursday, May 22, 2008

3-Iron


Bin-jip; Tragicomedy, South Korea, 2004; D: Kim Ki-duk, S: Lee Seung-yeon, Lee Hyun-kyoon, Kwon Hyuk-ho, Choi Jeong-ho, Lee Ju-seok, Lee Mi-suk

A man drives on a motorcycle and leaves takeout menus on the door's of various houses. He later returns to break into the houses that haven't removed the flyers, presuming they are empty. He never steals anything, just breaks in to live there for a few days, eat and sleep. But one day he breaks into a house with the inhabitant still in, a young woman. When her abusive husband returns and molests her, he hits him with golf balls and runs away with the girl. The two form an unlikely couple, but when they break into a house of a dead man, they are charged for murder. He gets sentenced to jail, but after he gets released he returns to the girl's house, hiding from her husband.

"3-Iron" is slightly overrated and overhyped, but still very sweet and spiritual film by acclaimed director Kim Ki-duk who seems to once again try to test the boundaries of how little he can put in a film, but still make it work. The story in "3-Iron" is so minimalistic it seems it was based only on a 10 page screenplay, and some of the thinness is sensed in the slightly overstretched running time since it would have worked much better as a short film, yet the magic and dreamy mood of the film that follow the two unusual protagonists, a man and a girl who never say a word - until the end - and thus build their whole charisma on mute expressions just like Chaplin and Keaton once did, has some strange appeal. There is no doubt that it's a film that works on a subconscious level and displays Ki-duk's often theme of loneliness and 'detachment' from our material world, and thus the couple seems like a ghost couple, always avoiding the Establishment. It also follows the author's fascination with Buddhism, obvious in the jail sequences where the hero mischievously hides from the prison guard, who then beats him up again and again - but her never retaliates in order to break the circle of violence and this world. Maybe the movie is too light at times, but strangely, it's always ambitious at the same time, and just like the symbolic final scene it somehow grows on you and makes you wonder if there's maybe more to it than it seems.

Grade:++

3 comments:

Ibetolis said...

I loved this film.

I'm a major fan of one of his earlier films 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring'. That's a little on the overlong side as well but it's got more ideas in one film than most directors achieve in a life time.

Thanks by the way for the link, I've reciprocated by adding you to my blog roll, please drop by any time.

Marin Mandir said...

I think this is one of those films that grow on you. Who knows, maybe one day I'll appreciate it even more. Anyway, I can't wait to see what Ki-duk is going to do next.

Bla said...

Haven't seen this one yet. Some day I will... maybe.