Monday, August 1, 2011

3-Iron/ 빈집/ Bin-jip [2004] Pt.1

GRAAAAWWWWHHHH!!! ,6(≧︿≦)9' Damn it!!! I almost made this a Quarantine [2008] post but that would cut into my horror/non-horror post ratio. And I re-watched it so I have some things to say, you better believe it. As I write this post I am watching Quarantine 2: Terminal [2011] (it came out earlier this month, July 17) and I so wanna write a post about this too. This one is not a remake of [REC] 2 [2009] and it- ok, gotta stop.

Here, I introduce to you one of my favorite films, known in English as 3-Iron. It is a Korean romance drama. Surprised that it isn't a horror film, hmmmm? I direct you punks here. The Korean title translates to Empty House. Even those who don't understand any Korean at all will not run into trouble here: This film contains hardly any dialogue! The two main characters hardly speak to one another; when's the last time you saw that in a romance drama?


The film opens with a young man riding around on his motorcycle whilst taping advertisements to doorknobs. He parks the bike off the road in front of a garage door to go post some more when the door opens behind him. An expensive looking car pulls out and starts honking. This guy pulls out behind the bike and sneers before taking off.

Our boy rides off to an apartment complex where he inspects all the doors he taped over the day before. Most have been removed by the tenants upon their return but he finds one untouched. He proceeds to pick the lock and trespass. A prerecorded message cheerfully reveals that the family has gone on a trip and won't return til tomorrow. He further proceeds to make himself at home, brushing his teeth, taking a shower, borrowing some clothes and making a sandwich. He enters what is probably the child's room and finds a broken BB pistol.
He fixes it and takes some pictures of himself with the family's photos. He idly flips through some television and dozes off on the couch. The next morning he gathers clothes that have been haphazardly left around the apartment and washes them by hand. I will point out that aside from the answering machine's message there hasn't been any spoken dialogue yet. He hears a car pull into the lot and spies a family entering the complex. Things are not so happy as they seemed with that cheerful family. The mother and father exchange angry words as they enter their home. Their son playfully points the 'broken' gun at his father and mother. Mom looks at him wearily and invites him to put her out of her misery. Which he does. (>ワ<) Drifter, as I will call him, pulls out of the lot on his bike and disappears into the city.

He goes through his rounds and finds an undisturbed doorknob, the home of the sneering bastard from earlier. The man possesses wealth alright, in large amounts. The house has a garden with stone lion sentinels, marble statues, and a golf swing station. Fancy artwork decorates the interior. And, of course, the inhabitants are not home. Or so he thinks.

The woman sports a bruised lip and a black eye. The story of this couple becomes clearer with an incoming phone call. The man asks if she is still angry with him, demands that she pick up the phone or he will go crazy again. Drifter listens curiously, still unaware that the woman addressed still lurks around the house. She silently shadows him as he goes through his routine: photographing himself with pictures of the owners, preparing a meal, repairing something broken (in this particular house he re-tunes a weight scale), gathering clothes and hand-washing them, watering the plants, admiring a photo album of the woman (she appears to be a model). Through all of this she remains out of sight.
She finally reveals her presence to him when he goes to bed. Startled, he looks at her fearfully when the phone rings. The husband demands that she pick up the phone or he will return immediately. The promise and threat are clear. She holds his gaze for a moment longer before turning to the phone. He quickly gathers his things and walks to the door when she screams into the receiver and slams it down. They share a moment before he slips out the front door.


Later, we find him sitting by the road lost in thought. He returns to the house to find her sobbing in the bathtub. He gathers up her clothes and pulls something out of the closet, laying it out for her. She notices music drifting into the bathroom and finds the outfit waiting for her. She puts it on and sits on the couch. A golf ball rolls around the corner and stops at her feet. She rolls it back and he returns it. A touching scene, and the connection between the two doesn't suffer from the lack of dialogue. The husband suddenly returns and angrily confronts her. Drifter watches the exchange silently. The thwack of his golf set interrupts the husband and he dashes outside to see Drifter using his swinging station. He attempts to call the police when Drifter turns the ball on him. The accuracy practice has paid off it seems. Drifter returns to his bike and revves the engine. The woman looks at her husband writhing in pain on the ground. He reaches out to her and she pulls away. The two of them take off into the night.