She eventually learns that it's easier with the door open.
Genre: Drama Romance (South Korea)
Starring: Seung-yeon Lee, Hyun-kyoon Lee
Directed By: Ki-duk Kim (Samaritan Girl • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring)
Overview: A man who spends his evenings squatting in the homes of strangers finds friendship when he rescues an abused woman.
3-Iron is a story of break and enter, friendship, and golf. Tae-suk is a young man who plasters neighbourhoods with advertisements only to come back hours later to break in and squat for a day or two in the empty homes of vacationers and business travellers. He doesn't rob the places he visits, except perhaps for a meal. In fact he's quite handy with electronics and is more than happy to fix broken things, as well as doing the laundry of strangers in exchange for the privilege of sleeping over. One day Tae-suk enters a house, scouts around and finding no one there, goes about his business, not realizing that Sun-hwa is in fact at home. Instead of reacting with fear, she's curious, staying hidden as she watches Tae-suk's routine. During his visit he hears a phone message from her abusive husband. Tae-suk does a few drives in the backyard with the husband's golf clubs. When Sun-hwa eventually reveals herself, Tae-suk leaves the house quickly, but not before seeing the husband's bruises on her face. He returns the next day, this time more as a welcome guest than an interloper. Sun-hwa and Tae-suk develop a silent friendship until her husband returns, spitting venom and abuse at his wife. Using her husband's 3-iron, Tae-suk takes matters into his own hands and rescues Sun-hwa, inviting her to join him. She gladly leaves her husband in favour of squatting in strange homes with a new friend.
And that's just the beginning. Most of the 3-Iron story is about the development of Tae-suk, the places he and his new friend crash at and become friends in, and the husband who wants his wife back. Rather than merely being interesting touches, the present themes of trespassing as a guest, hiding and golf had quite a solid focus that were wonderfully maintained, even developed as integral plot catalysts and story arc elements to our characters. Being more Drama than Romance 3-Iron includes scenes both serene and violent and contains enough original artistic twists to appeal as much to the art-houser as to the adventurous mainstreamer. Add an original, interesting conclusion and 3-Iron becomes yet another production that South Korea's film industry can safely declare "we did it again."
Tresspassing has never been so romantic.
Performance: 8 Cinematography: 8 Script: 8 Plot: 9 Mood: 8
Overall Rating: 82% (What Are You Waiting Fore?)
The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book that inspired this viewing speaks a little to director Ki-duk Kim's typical directorial themes of the blending of fantasy and reality, but I found that the reality lines of 3-Iron didn't have any blurring whatsoever. 3-Iron's plot develops in a very linear, realistic fashion. Compared to films like Alice and the recent club pick of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, 3-Iron's a surreal kitten.