Kim Ki-Duk's 3-Iron one-ups his previous works by providing us with not one but two main protagonists who don't talk over the length of the film; in that sense it's about as silent a film as anything done recently, and in the way it sets atmosphere and mood, introduces its characters, and have them and their relationship develop over the course of the film, it recalls the strategy of storytelling of silent films--the simple, telling image, the tiny detail in close-up, the use of movement, or lack of it.


Beyond that, it's possibly the most fully developed and poignant of Kim's films that I've seen (haven't seen that seasonal thing, though), focusing on a relationship the way Bad Guy did; unlike Bad Guy, there's no troubling questions of misogynistic exploitation--the goy is passive and, as someone says, "good-hearted," and the girl goes with him freely of her own volition (I'd like to say Kim leaves behind the kind of "shock cinema" he used to exploit to capture our attention and gain our sympathies, but the scenes of golf balls used sadistically pretty much invalidates that assertion; the explicitness and gore is much reduced, though, I'll say that much). Kim frames their respective states of loneliness in such a way that it seems the most natural thing in the world for them to come together.


What happens next, of course, is more debatable. I'd much prefer to have the film remain at a realist level, but Kim has a tendency towards mysticism, and I'll admit the turn the film does take in the latter half is about as intriguing and ingeniously filmed as anything I've seen recently.

No comments: