3-Iron

"Good"

3-Iron Review


There's nothing like a challenge. Making a film in which the central character speaks not a word of dialogue qualifies as one. It is also an effective device to hold your attention -- just to see if an utterance finally emerges from the silence. Well, I'm not going to give anything away, but I can tell you that this film, by Korean writer-director Ki-duk Kim (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring) more or less meets the challenge. The appeal of it lies in his audacious approach to themes of displacement, cruelty, and thwarted justice.

Tae-suk (Hyun-kyoon Lee), a nice looking young man, has a beautiful, fairly new motorcycle but no place of his own to live. He does, however, have a lockpick, and a rather freaky method to find shelter each night. His job (not necessarily a legitimate one) is to tape restaurant advertisements to the front doors of houses and apartments on a street of his choosing. Returning the next day, the doors that still have the promo sheets attached are, likely as not, empty.

Putting his lockpicking skill to work, he enters his chosen house and plays the phone machine. If the outgoing message refers to the owners being on vacation or away on business, he takes possession of the place for the night. It's not just idle squatting. To satisfy his own sense of morality, he fixes everything in sight, does laundry by hand, and, generally, leaves the place better than he found it. He also photographs himself against pictures or furnishings for his digital scrapbook.

One day, the genial freeloader enters a home that meets all the specs. He occupies it in the usual way, checking it out, taking a bath. Only it is occupied, and the woman of the house, Sun-hwa (Seung-yeon Lee), attractive, bearing facial bruises, watches him in fascination before making her presence known.

Belligerent phone calls from her husband leaves little doubt that she's a battered wife, but that's about to change. Tae-suk, once realizing that the lady is not kicking him out, goes about his strange ways, with Sun-hwa observing from a distance in a state of awe.

Hubby Min-Kyu (Hyuk-ho Kwon) comes home with his usual nasty disposition but without noticing the strange man using his golf gear out on the patio lawn. When he starts manhandling his wife, his own 3-iron is going to teach him a thing or two about abuse. Once Tae-suk dents the old man's head like a cheap golf ball, Tae-suk and Sun-hwa make tracks out of there and soon occupy another empty home. She's a total partner in the routine. Romance buds.

Hubby, however, is not a bully who takes a beating lying down. He hires some villains to find the lovers and apply some punishment. In this part of the tale, things take on an even stranger edge with a more extreme thread of surreality twisted in. Finally, the redemptive power of love is contrived to make us consider all the golf balls in the air, including the contrast between unthreatening geniality and base cruelty.

Aka Bin-jip.



3-Iron

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th October 2004

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Kim Ki-Duk Film, Cineclick Asia

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Fresh: 78 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: Seung-yeon Lee as Sun-hwa, as Tae-suk, Hyuk-ho Kwon as Min-gyu, Jeong-ho Choi as Jailor, Lee Mi-suk as Daughter-in-law of Old Man, Ju-seok Lee as Son of Old Man, Sung-hyuk Moon as Sung-hyuk, Jee-ah Park as Jee-ah, Jae-yong Jang as Hyun-soo, Dah-hae Lee as Ji-eun

Also starring: ,

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