The insinuating quality of 3-Iron is irresistible. Its a story about a battered woman finds an unlikely hero in a transient young man who breaks into empty homes while the residents are away. A beautiful young man with a shiny new motorcycle, he does not participate in the ordinary hustle and bustle of contemporary life. Instead, he methodically goes from door to door of stranger’s homes, putting flyers in the keyholes, and then, later, breaks into the homes where the flyer has not been removed. Tae-suk is not a thief. Quite the opposite, while residing in these temporarily vacated homes, he does the tenant’s laundry and he repairs broken items.
3-Iron really is a beautiful film about reality and illusion. One of the homes he breaks into happens to have an abused woman in one of them. I would not spoil it by revealing any of the plot as this is one you definitely have to see. If Ki-duk Kim can write a love story this incredible, I certainly want to see his action films. However, even though I knew I was in talented hands, I found this picture to be uneven.
Sun-hwa is clearly in need of healing, and Tae-Suk is a fine caretaker. He dresses his prodigy in innocent, child-like pink. He even cuts her hair and prepares her food. But before long, we discover that Tae-suk is not nearly the carefree man he first appeared to be. His attachment to a 3-Iron golf club he removes from Sun-hwa’s home is a clear indicator. The most amazing aspect of Ki-duk Kim’s film is that neither of the stars talk. They fall in love together, wordlessly, and it absolutely works. Feelings are expressed through actions, rather than words.
Rather than developing the characters through simple dialogue, Ki-Duk has taken a far more difficult choice by forcing the actors to express their emotions through actions and facial gestures. As said prior, I believe this is one of the few films of the modern age that could be considered to truly be a silent film. Acting is very important in a film that barely has dialogue and the actors hold the weight of it very nicely. Their performances are so good that the absence of talk almost seems to prove the richness of their love. When Sun-hwa finally speaks, her words do not disappoint. “3-Iron” mesmerizes. I know this review has been ‘mysterious’, but I do not want to spoil anything, just run out and see this movie.