Saturday, February 27, 2010


Korean film
Length: 1 hour 35 minutes
Rating: R

What is it about? Tae-suk posts Chinese take-out menus on people's doors and then comes back to check on them after a while. If the menu is gone, he assumes the owners are home, but if the menu remains, he assumes the owners are on vacation. In the latter case, Tae-suk carefully breaks into the house and lives in it for a few days, using their clothes, beds, TV's, food, and other things. In return, he does their laundry and fixes things around the house. This is how he meets Sun-hwa, a woman married to an abusive husband. This meeting is what the rest of the movie is based on.

Was it a good movie? 3-Iron is an excellent movie full of symbolism and intense interpretive character development. The characters Sun-hwa and Tae-suk don't speak at all during the movie, so how they act is very important since that's all the audience has to go by in order to understand them. If you don't like having to interpret what's going on, you can still enjoy the movie for its basic plot line, but it will be a bit lacking and it won't be as easy to understand what's going on. The character development is exemplary, even with the lack of dialogue from the two main characters. Overall, 3-Iron gives the message that hope and love can overcome all odds, no matter how bad things seem.

Can you explain some of the symbolism? (WARNING: this portion contains some spoilers!) First and foremost is the giant symbol of golf. In Japan, as in many other places, golfing is a significant status symbol. That being said, the reason this sport is used over all the others is because whoever is seen playing it is the one who has the "status" of being in control of Sun-hwa.

Another major symbol is nude or partially nude women in pictures and statues. Notice that the picture of Sun-hwa seen in the third place they break into together has her positioned so that none of her body except for her legs and arms is really showing. This physically shows that she is not willing to let just anyone into her life, since she has been so badly abused by her husband. She is using her own self as a barrier to keep others at a distance until she determines whether or not they are "safe" to let into her life (this is directly reflected in the scene when she hides and watches Tae-suk when he has broken into her house).

The final major symbol in this movie is the scale. When we first see the scale, Tae-suk weighs himself at 110 pounds. He takes the scale apart and fixes it to weigh him at 65 pounds. Sun-hwa weighs 47 pounds after this adjustment. The second time we see the scale, Sun-hwa weighs herself at 56 pounds. She then takes the scale apart and fixes it, but she does not reweigh herself this time. The last time we see the scale, both Tae-suk and Sun-hwa are on it and the weigh nothing. The significance of this is that when Tae-suk first enters Sun-hwa's life, he makes it much simpler and less stressful. They both weigh less emotionally. Sun-hwa weighs herself later in the movie and she is heavier than the last time. This is because she cannot be with Tae-suk, so she fixes the scale. We do not know if her weight actually changes directly afterwards, but we can assume that she fixes it in anticipation of Tae-suk returning for her. When they weigh nothing, it is because they are now able to be together forever, leaving them with no more pain or stresses to weigh them down.

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