Bin Jib / 3 Iron

This, my friends, is the movie that turns me from liking Jae Hee into loving him. Ah. What can I say about a movie where the male main character doesn’t speak a word? This is my first Kim Ki-duk movie and it haunted me for days after I saw it. After several years of newbie me being happy with offerings of squealy fun romantic comedies from South Korea, I stumbled into this particular movie starring Jae Hee. I was taken aback. It’s like when I had gotten so used to eating McDonald’s 50c soft serve, suddenly I got served the finest chocolate truffles. It was shocking, beautiful, foreign, wonderful.

Even now, whenever I listen to the featuring music, the hauntingly beautiful Natacha Atlas, memories of it all flow back to me.

The man (Jae Hee) breaks into people’s empty houses, eats and showers there. In return, he does the house chores and mends their broken things. He doesn’t steal a thing, other than a few pictures he takes as memorabilia. Also, he has a cool bike and he wears black. To the world he doesn’t exist, he’s content by himself and with the odd way of life. And he doesn’t talk. Fair enough, since he’s alone, there’s no need to speak anyway.

Then he meets a woman, an abused victim of her husband.

This is a creepy concept only fit for movies, I’d just freak out if someone does that to me (breaking into my house and doing my laundry. And come to think of it, sneaking into my house, playing haunting music and lovingly preparing a fresh change after my shower. Even if he’s painfully sexy and brooding, I swear!). Some scenes made me uneasy, but their world was so captivating I fell under its spell.

The  movie is just heartbreaking and sweet. It’s a drastic take on the silent broody hero saving the damsel in distress. And she saves him as much as he does her. All the elements just work like magic: the silence. Oh, the silence! The loneliness, the sad undertones, Natacha Atlas, the soulfulness of Jae Hee’s eyes, and the finale damn it…

Oh, this scene. A simple search on the movie title and no doubt you’ve seen this picture. I say, why would they want to spoil it?

One little complain, why do they have to change the original title “Empty Houses”, which is much more fitting in all perspectives, indo “3-Iron” which I think is a golf stick, just because of a particular scene in the movie (important, no doubt, but still).

ps: Don’t worry, I still like McDonald’s 50c soft serve very much.


About toopai
part time couch potato, full time movie and drama enthusiast.

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