Friday, September 09, 2005


I haven't done a movie write-up in a while. So, here we go...

3-Iron (Dir. by Ki-Duk Kim) So, for some reason, my local big corporate Video renting chain has gone all crazy and stocked a ton of new Korean DVDs coming out. I remember, bored one day, watching the preview for 3-Iron and thinking it looked neat, so I spotted it on the shelf last night and picked it up, and...well, it just might be my movie of the year (Technically it's 2004, but, like Old Boy it only saw its North American release this year, so, I'm counting it.).It's directed by the same guy who directed the also pretty sublime Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, Ki-Duk Kim, and it's a pretty fascinating little movie. The main guy (I doubt his name is ever given, I didn't catch it if it was) is one of those guys whose job is to hang those irritating menus on people's doorknobs. He drives this expensive-looking motorcycle around, but his job, it turns out, is only a front for his favourite passtime. Later in the day, he comes back by and looks for someone who has left the menu on their door, meaning they are not in. He uses his little break-in kit, goes inside, doesn't steal anything, but, well, fools around. He takes pictures on his digital camera of himself in front of family portraits and other pictures. He fixes a kid's toy gun then uses the pellets to pop the balloons in his room. After breaking into a variety of homes, he breaks into the home of Sun-hwa, and while going about his business (cooking lunch, re-assembling their scale, masturbating to pictures of Sun-hwa), he's started to find that Sun-hwa is still at home and watching him. She has been badly beaten by her husband, and there is quite a scene where he confronts the abusive husband, armed only with a 3-iron (I presume) and whole bunch of golf balls. Sun-hwa follows him, and together they take off on his motorbike, and she joins in the breaking and entering fun with him. Of course, the close they get, the more careless they get, and they finally get caught. Sun-hwa goes home with her husband, and the guy (who IMDB is saying is named Tae-suk in the movie) is imprisoned. Tae-suk waits in jail and plots a way out and back to Sun-hwa.What's most striking about this film is that Tae-suk and Sun-hwa never speak to each other. Other characters yell at them, threaten them, beat them, but between the two only Sun-hwa ever utters a word, and it's only a sentence at the end. Rather than a violation of people's trust, their sneaking into different people's places can be seen as an attempt to connect with others in this modern age of alienation. The film is gorgeously shot, and everything looks spectacular. In spite of the write-up, it's a very gentle film, a real mediatation on love. And the ending is says soooooo much without one word.It's really amazing. I think it just might have the edge, so far, on Kung-fu Hustle, Sin City, Broken Flowers, Howl's Moving Castle and Old Boy for me. I can't say enough good things about it.