Sunday, February 14, 2010

Memoirs of An Invisible Man

Well, I wrote the review for this film about three months ago and for whatever reason, I just didn’t seem to find the right time to post it. Now that it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought what better time to put up my review of 3-Iron? A film that made my top 25 of the decade, mind you (and at number 11!). This is my anti-Hollywood made/spoon-feed romance film review in a way. While many people will sadly go out to theaters and see that piss shit of a movie, Valentine’s Day, I prefer to spread the word about a film that is the true meaning of meaning, a true film, in the truest sense. It’s not horror, but I urge you all to check out the review and the movie at some point. Happy Valentine’s Day, bitches!

3iron If someone lives their life in solidarity and are not seen by others around them, do they even exist? I guess I don't even know if some of you exist unless you leave a comment, but you could be reading my blog once or twice a week for all I know. That is almost the idea behind the Kim Ki-duk directed 3-Iron (Bin-jip). A brilliant idea in the narrative of a story that is an unconventional one, and one that in normal conventions, I despise from the lack of creativity found within. That would be, the love story.

Love stories in film are so often bullshit nonsense, and it's so rare to find one that transcends the onslaught of garbage that caters to uncreative minds (usually these films star someone like Sandra Bullock…*fart noise*). I can be a major sucker for a love story, but it has to be good, touching, real and not exploitative of the human condition. Kim Ki-duk has written and directed one of the most well crated and thought out love stories I have seen in some time.

3iron2 The film stars Jae Hee as Tae-suk who uses the front of leaving take-out menus on people’s doors to find out if they are home or not. When he discovers a home is left to his own device, he breaks in and makes it his own. He doesn't steal anything nor does he do anything bad really (outside of some significant pranks), he actually takes care of the place by cleaning things and fixing broken items. He acts as if he is in his own home and treats it as such - maybe even better. Tae-suk goes farther than to take the place over, he seems to want to have some sort of connection to the family that really lives there - he does so by taking pictures of himself with the family photos hanging on the walls as if he is in the picture with them.

3iron3 He seems like he may be bored and slightly lonely, and in his loneliness, he has become very methodical and precise with the things he does with each home he goes into. Eventually, he makes his way into a home that is not as empty as he would think. There is woman named Sun-hwa (played by Seung-yeon Lee) inside who sees Tae-suk but does nothing at first, instead, she watches him. She seems to be partially captivated by him and what he is doing around her house...taking care of things and becoming a part of a family that he assumes knows not of his existence.

3iron1 Sun-hwa, besides being curious about her polite intruder, has visible signs of physical abuse from what would be her overbearing husband. She may be ashamed of being seen this way, which could also factor in her not confronting him immediately. She does eventually bump into him when he catches her spying on him as he is in her bed. Tae-suk takes off, only to come back and in a way, save this woman from her abusive relationship.

3iron4 Both characters are suffering from loneliness as we already know from Tae-suk's actions, but the controlled, abusive life that Sun-hwa is living, makes her just as isolated as her quasi hero. They are connected by their secluded lives, to become secluded together. Sun-hwa joins Tae-suk in his home invasion adventures and partakes in the practices that he does in these empty homes. They almost become one, and like a pair of ghosts, they seem to haunt these residences, only leaving residual essence behind for the true owners to never fully be able to pick up on. While they do act almost as one, they are also avoiding what they feel about one another until the most subtle of movements connects them in the biggest way.

3iron5 Neither one of the characters speak one line of dialogue in 3-Iron's entire run time, and it is fantastic how so many small actions can speak larger than any words that they could belt out or be written for that matter. They are kindred-spirits, a couple who only know the existence of each other as they play in other peoples playgrounds. In their comfort with one another, they are eventually caught, and this results in Tae-suk being jailed and Sun-hwa being trapped back home with her abusive husband who has now changed his ways, apparently. Too little too late, as Sun-hwa is in love with Tae-suk and is completely devastated being separated from him.

3iron6 I would prefer not to go any further into the plot, as I have left it very open and the third act of 3-Iron is best left to be discovered by the viewer's eyes, not this reviewer's words. I'll say that the movie goes into some almost fairytale like territory, but not in a cheesy way, in fact, it is quite brilliant and poignant. Love story or not, 3-Iron is not a romance film, as it doesn't need to stoop to the level of cheap romantic tricks. You aren't hit over the head with their love, it evolves naturally, like the characters do themselves.

3-Iron is a nicely paced and shot film that carries you through the journey and evolution of both Sun-hwa and Tae-suk, and the silent performances from the two leads are amazing and at times magical. The significance of the littlest things in this film is remarkable, whether it be a wall picture, a touch of the foot, or even a scale for weighing yourself. The underlying message that I took from 3-Iron is, to be alone is to be nonexistent, but to be alone with someone you love, is true existence. Word.


  1. Awesome film. Slightly creepy, but romantic nonetheless. Despite the lack of action and explosions, it's full of suspense... and some sense of wonder, wouldn't you say?

  2. Definitely, their relationship is almost suspenseful in how it unfolds, which is in a way that is not common in cinema, unfortunately. And the entire end is so fantastical in so many ways, but is so subdued and handled quite realistically. Thanks for the comment!


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