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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
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   3-Iron  



 

3-Iron

Reviewed by daface

Korean Title: Bin-jip
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Writing Credits: Kim Ki-duk
Cast: Jae Hee, Lee Seung-yeon
Genre: Romance drama
Country: Korea
Language: Korean
Year released: 2004
Runtime: 95 min

The movie gets its name from golf. Really. It's referring to the 3-iron golf club, which is featured prominently in the show, either as a hobby/sports equipment, or as a weapon.

But the movie isn't about golf. It's difficult to classify its exact genre as the film is extremely unconventional. It's about an unconventional protagonist living an unconventional lifestyle, developing an unconventional relationship, with an unconventional ending.

Watching the show certainly gave me unconventional ideas - the protagonist, who doesn't speak a word throughout the show (and also unnamed), lives his life by giving out flyers at residential homes, pinning them at the house's keyhole. When he returns few hours later, those homes with the flyer still attached, will therefore indicate that no one's at home. So he'll break into the home, and becomes Goldilocks, living in their premises, eating their food, sleeping on their beds, and in return, does their laundry and fixes spoilt household items. He does not steal valuables, but has a weird habit of taking pictures as mementos of having been there.

Until he breaks into a home of an abused wife, gets acquainted and elopes with her, and she follows his lead and lifestyle - two's company, until halfway through the show when things start to change as the law finally catches up with them.

I will not elaborate much on the last third of the narrative, as things really take such a creative turn that some in the audience just felt was ridiculous at times. Also, the ending is open ended, and some might feel uncomfortable with it, as it leaves some questions unanswered. (For those interested in a short discussion, you can refer to the spoilers at the end of the review).

The acting of the two leads is commendable, because dialogue is kept to a minimum (for the male lead, none at all), therefore it takes tremendous effort to convey feelings and emotions across totally by body language.

Watch this with an open mind, but if you're one who thrives on action and dialogue, then this might not be for you.

[WARNING: Spoiler ahead.]

The skill which the protagonist picks up during jail time is plausible, but take a little stretching of the imagination. While the trick is real - the eye can only see 180 degrees, so by staying outside this range, you can render yourself "invisible", somehow to keep up the charade is quite impossible, in my opinion.

I'd like to romanticize the ending as this - He hadn't really gone back to his lover's home, and that she was going insane from the waiting and the longing and starts to imagine things, as the last line of the movie puts it, it's sometimes difficult to draw the line between fantasy and reality.

This review first appeared at http://anutshellreview.blogspot.com