Written and directed by Kim Ki-Duk, 3 Iron is a Korean movie with minimal dialogue and extensive symbolism. Tae-Suk (Jae Hee) is a homeless man (with an incredibly expensive motorcycle). He spends his days hanging advertisements on doorknobs and then goes back over this territory at night to find homes where the owners have not picked up his advertisements. Picking the lock, he goes in, checks the phone message to get an idea as to how long they’ll be gone and then makes himself comfortable for the evening. He fixes dinner, watches TV, looks at the family photos and always takes a picture of himself in front of a family portrait, then cleans up the house, fixes broken appliances, and even washes clothes left laying around. His routine is changed after he breaks into the home of Sun-hwa (played by the beautiful Lee Seung-yun), a former model and battered woman hiding in her home. She shadows Tae-Suk, then he shadows her and witnesses her being beaten by her husband. He later goes back and using her husband’s 3 iron and golf balls, extracts revenge upon the women’s husband. Sun-hwa then leaves, riding on the back of the bike. She develops the same style, taking care of the home and even the body of a man found dead. They are both arrested, but it is discovered that they didn’t kill the man, that he died from lung cancer. Sun-hwa’s husband then extracts revenge on Tae-Suk, who ends up in prison. While there, despite many beatings, he learns to hide and to become a shadow. The movie ends with him being reunited with Sun-hwa, as a shadow of her husband. The movie leaves a lot open for interpretation. There are many reoccurring themes, golf clubs and balls, photographs of women models, bathroom scales and clocks. The movie ends with the line, “It’s hard to tell if the world you live in is a reality of a dream.”
Although this movie is more surreal than my taste, I enjoyed it. The limited dialogue made it easier to follow and keep up with the subscripts. The movie is only 90 minutes long, and its pacing was fast enough that it seemed even shorter. Check out more reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.