FlickNut
2005/04/03
 [edit] # 09:54
3 Iron: Houseguest

3 iron
3 Iron is the latest film from Ki-duk Kim dealing with the mysteries of the human psyche (and it's a love story!). The film follows the character of Tae-suk (Hee Jae) who puts flyers over the keyhole of homes, so that he knows which homes are empty. He then breaks into the homes and cleans up the spaces, does laundry and attempts to fix broken appliances, leaving without stealing.

One day he breaks into a house that isn't empty. Sun-hwa (Seung-yeon Lee) is unhappily wed and abused by her rich husband. She hears Tae-suk enter her house and hides in the shadows, observing him cleaning and fixing appliances. Reassured he is well intentioned, she decides to reveal herself to him, he gets frightened and leaves when she picks up the phone.

He sits on the street, considering the events. Seemingly sensing and understanding her predicament (and perhaps being a tad lonely himself) Tae-suk returns to the Sun-hwa's house, wherein they begin a flirtation using a golf ball as a tool.

When Sun-hwa's husband comes home and is violent with her, Tae-suk uses a 3 iron golf club and pelts him with golf balls. Sun-hwa and Tae-suk then drive off together to start a new life wherein she accompanies him, cleaning and fixing the homes while their inhabitants are on vacation. There is a moment of acceptance, as she places herself into the digital photo he is about to take of himself with pictures of the homeowners. At this moment we know they've made an emotional connection. They continue this life for a short period of time before they come upon a home where the homeowner isn't on vacation, but instead dead in his bathroom. They give the man a proper burial, but soon after the man's son shows up unexpectedly at the apartment. Tae-suk is arrested and Sun-hwa is reunited with her still very abusive husband.

*Spoiler Alert*

After Tae-suk is "released" from prison the reality of what is happening disappears and questions of the final outcome are raised.

Does Tae-suk die or is he reunited with Sun-hwa though she still lives with her husband? Perhaps both. The alternative is that he doesn't die, but has found a way to live just outside of human perception. A strange idea, but very well conceptualized in the film.

Kim makes this blatantly (though perhaps unnecessarily) obvious by ending the film with these words on the screen: "It is hard to tell if the world we live in is a reality or a dream."

*End Spoiler*

Interestingly the two primary characters never speak, until the end when Sun-hwa says "I love you" to Tae-suk in the last minute of the film. Extremely well-acted the piece is a sweet and metaphysical love story. Crisp clean cinematographic shots of a very ordered suburbia devoid of people is an effective vehicle for Kim who has been known to tackle the human psyche through his film lens. A satisfying viewing of a poetic film.

As an unintentional result of all the cooking they do in the film and the myriad of dishes they prepare, 3 Iron feels a bit like a movie about food. Don't be surprised to find yourself craving Korean food as you exit the theater!

3 Iron plays on April 22 and 25 at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres as part of the SF International Film Festival. The film will be released in wider distribution May 2005.

Comments:
"Help me if you can I'm feeling down" - I also think I must be lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw him on the golf course yesterday. Now this is strange because usually I see him in the supermarket.

Honest really, last time I saw him there he was right in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new lcd tv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a lcd tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger.

Then I'm gonna go home, put ma dancin' suit on, munch me some uppers and freak out to that maaaaaaaaad surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on ma lcd tv .

How cool is that boy?

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)
 
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