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3 Iron, Korea, Jae Hee, Lee Seung-yeon, Kim Ki-duk

3-Iron (Bin-Jip): a young man takes temporary residence in the homes of holidaying families; washing their clothes and fixing their broken stuff as payment. The central character is absolutely fascinating: peculiar, creepy, kind, well-meaning, frugal, meticulous, disturbed, zombie-like… what makes it all the more unbelievable is that he doesn’t say a word for the duration – it’s an exceptional performance. The central aspect of the film is a bit odd, but it’s the attention to detail and ghost-like existence of the characters that make it all so unsettling. The film gets a tad silly towards the end with the hiding in plain sight/shadow dancing stuff, but it’s poignant and justified nonetheless. Being such a peculiar love story set in a bizarre situation, I can see why people wouldn’t like this film; it’s also two almost-speechless leading roles, but the performances are haunting and memorable – if you give this a change and ‘buy in’ to the idea – 3-Iron is a truly unforgettable film.

Score: 8/10

The Isle: captures a deviant romance developing between a very strange couple of pseudo-mutes. It starts off quite dry – difficult to ‘get in to’ – introducing the characters and strange setting. As the drama ramps up it starts to drag you in, mostly through the eerie atmosphere because there’s almost no dialogue. One of the characters slowly turns into a terrifying psychopath, and a couple of scenes near the Antichrist level of fucked up appear out of nowhere. The acting, particularly the main woman, is really good: such a shame she didn’t do another movie. There’s some frog, fish and worm mutilation thrown in for good measure. The lakeside setting and scenery are haunting & atmospheric and the no-frills direction really just lets the story do the talking. Director Kim Ki-Duk has a decent track record, including Bad Guy and 3-Iron, which is one of the most memorable Asian flicks I’ve seen. This is a good film; not for everyone but worth checking out if you can handle your cinema ‘out there’.

Score: 5.5/10