3-Iron: Give it a swing.
Jan 30, 2006
Review by Pavel21
Rated a Very Helpful Review
User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Quiet nature. Interesting concept. Tonal switch. The possibilities of the final act.
Cons:Slow middle. Vague last third. Nothing great.
The Bottom Line: An interesting change-of-pace.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
From Korean director Ki-duk Kim (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring) comes 3-Iron (Bin-jip), a film with similar methods that explores similar themes, although in a very disparate setting.
The male protagonist Tae-suk (played by Hyun-kyoon Lee) is a twenty-something transient who spends his nights at the homes of vacationing or otherwise absent citizens. He does not steal anything though. Conversely, he actually leaves the apartment in better condition, fixing broken appliances, washing clothes, or watering plants "in exchange" for the lodging and food. A simple enough life until he wanders into a house still occupied by a model-turned-battered woman (Seung-yeon Lee). Their relationship develops over the middling second act, which lulls the viewer almost to sleep. But in the final portion, the path of Tae-suk and the entire film takes a different direction, one more curious and ethereal right to the last shot. Catching the viewer off-guard, these changes are open to several different interpretations and nearly demand a second viewing to consider the numerous possibilities.
Like Spring..., 3-Iron moves along gently but steadily and is largely void of music and speech, which makes their occasional presence all the more startling and noteworthy. This forms an appropriately quiet film that necessitates contemplation, but not just because of the minimal sound. The nature of the story encourages the pondering of what the character is thinking and what one would do in a similar situation, appealing to innate voyeuristic tendencies.
Considering the lack of dialogue, a large burden of expression falls upon the two lead actors, who fulfill that requirement. Early on, their stoic faces accurately reflect the mindset of their characters, but still mildly frustrate any viewer looking for a shred of emotion. Then in the film's final act, the stone looks arrestingly morph into an impish glee, which accompanies the film's tonal change.
The very clear, largely ambient audio can be heard in either the original Korean or French, with subtitles in English or French. The only special feature is a full-length director's commentary in Korean with English subtitles. You have to choose to view the words from either the script or the commentary, but since words are not integral to the movie, this isn't a problem. Kim Ki-duk's insightful thoughts lean strongly toward the technical side, addressing how he made the film, especially since it was shot and edited in less than a month and on a small budget. A pretty good listen for anyone interested in the process.
The title 3-Iron does refer to a golf club which pops up throughout the film, but this is definitely not a sports movie. Nor is this Asian film in the vein of recent martial arts imports like Hero or House of Flying Daggers. If you are expecting either genre, you likely won't make it through even the relatively short 88-minute running length. If you are ready for a meandering, subtitled change-of-pace that requires a little thought to get through, then give 3-Iron a swing. 7 of 10.
Rating Information: 3-Iron is rated R for sexuality/nudity, largely present in modeling-style photographs. Adults only. Not that many kids would be interested anyway.
Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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